• I really don't buy that 10% of the nation isn't interested in working. It's the standard Republican talking point that people who are down on their luck are lazy, or that they just need to try harder.

    The current unemployment system has a perverse set of incentives. If you are unemployed, you are prohibited from taking classes or getting training. If you enroll in college courses, you lose your benefits. If you try to get training or certification (I'm in IT and desperately wanted to get my CCNA certification) you lose your benefits. The ultimate result is that you are legally prohibitted from bettering yourself while unemployed.

    The logic of this stance is that you should be looking for a job, not living off of unemployment while you take classes or get training. However, if there ARE no jobs, if you NEED training to make yourself employable, then you're screwed. You get to sit around, applying for job after job that you won't get because you're missing a certification, knowing that if you took a four week course you may actually get one of those jobs, but unable to take the risk that you'll lose your unemployment check. The year I was on unemployment could've been reduced to eight weeks or less, had I been permitted to get the training I needed without losing benefits.

    And in this country, at what point did we decide that getting additional education was a BAD use of time for the unemployed?

  • And quickly, once the Senate resumes.

    However, I think this was a mistake on Reid's part. People don't like that the Senate went on vacation, leaving 200,000 unemployed folks in the lurch until they come back. As someone who was unemployed for almost a year, it's terrifying when those benefits run out. You've already been pinching every penny (as unemployment benefits are typically around 50% of what you were making before). The bills won't wait, the power company won't take an IOU, and the uncertainty is maddening.

    Republicans are to blame for blocking the extension, but Reid had a move. It would've been incredibly strong and meaningful had Reid refused to adjourn the Senate until this passed. Senators don't like to give up their vacation time, and getting the dems to unify behind Reid and stay in session until passage would've sent a great message to the country.

  • comment on a post Fiorina Passover Email: "As We Break Bread" over 4 years ago

    we should just let it go. Taking a look at that press release, it's pretty damned clear to me that it was written up some time ago as a generic, multi-cultural "happy holidays"  message.

    I mean, read the damned thing, you can substitute Passover for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukuh, July 4th, Memorial Day, Kwanzaa, or Arbor Day without missing a step. 

    Now, Fiorina isn't doing herself any favors with her reactions lately that, "unleavened bread is what we meant." It would be far smarter and quicker to just say, "We made a mistake and didn't proofread the press release. Sorry."

  • After Tuesday, reconciliation will be on the table for everything in the Senate. In some ways, having sixty hurt the dems because it gave the illusion that you could vote down the fillibuster on a regular basis. Problem was, we had to have 100% agreement among dems to get it done. And some dems in the Senate are dicks.

    Now, the Senate will be willing to pass stuff with 51 votes and reconciliation. Or, they'll go after killing the fillibuster altogether.

  • on a comment on Health Care Reform Passed over 4 years ago

    Not yet. Republicans are nothing if not persistent. The only way they'll change their tune is if they get wiped out in November, and maybe even in 2012, as well. Only then will they realize that doing their damndest to wreck the country might not be the best political strategy.

  • So please, tell us about him. He's a fighter, but a fighter for what? What is his background, for those of us who don't know. What does he stand for, and why? What has he done to fight? What will he do? The diary is mostly shallow platitudes, give us something concrete. Give us a reason to get excited . . . to WANT this guy in office for reasons besides he's the democrat on the ballot. (That didn't work in Mass, after all.)

    Me? I'm voting for him either way. But if I'm going to volunteer and get involved, I need to know these things. And so do LOTS of other people.

  • comment on a post Previewing Senate Elections: Illinois over 4 years ago

    is excellent, and actually makes me more hopeful for November than I was. Chicago is the core of OFA, and all it will take is a visit or two from Obama to fire up this city once again. Turnout might be low elsewhere, but Chicago can get mobilized pretty easily and at a minimum of cost to the Dems. True, Alexi is far from ideal, but, frankly, Chicagoans won't be voting for him. We'll be voting to give Obama a chance to do his job.

  • comment on a post Was the Stimulus "Politically Disastrous"? over 4 years ago

    Is, frankly, a crappy way to frame the poll. If some pollster called me and asked if I was happy with the stimulus, I'd have to say "no". Because we needed a much bigger stimulus, focused much more squarely on job creation and less on tax cuts. Of course, I'm aware of the politics of it, and that this was what we could get through congress, but that doesn't make it all I'd hoped for. Plus, the unemployment rate hasn't gone down, which means that the stimulus hasn't really done it's job. (Of course, things would've been a whole HELL of a lot worse without it, but "we're spending 800B to keep things from getting worse than awful" isn't something to be pleased with.)

    So, on the "dislike" side, you have the defecit hawks, the Tea Partiers, the Republicans who'll hate everything Obama even mentions in passing, everyone who's out of work (because they won't give a damn until they get a job) and folks like me who think we needed a bigger, better stimulus than the one we got. And yet, that only makes up 56% of the poll responses. Frankly, that's not too bad.

  • comment on a post Running To The Right Won’t Work over 4 years ago

    I'm in perpetual shock at the absurdity displayed by political "experts".

    The first thing, the most basic thing we have to understand about modern politics in this country is that Republicans and Democrats are playing two very, very different games. And, frankly, the process is skewed to help Republicans.

    Democrats are put into office to DO STUFF. Nobody votes a dem in office to maintain the status quo, they put them there because they want something done. Whether it is to fix the economy, expand civil liberties, or fix health care, people want SOMETHING changed.

    Republicans, on the other hand, are put in office to do nothing. Sure, they pay a lot of lip-service to "protecting" this or that, but fundamentally, republicans will change nothing, fix nothing, correct nothing. Their goal, after all, is to cede all government responsibility to the private sector, so doing nothing is practically their mission statement. (Pre-neocon, Republicans could be counted on to do nothing internationally, as well. They wanted a giant military, and to never, ever use it. Remember, it was dems who got us into WW1, WW2, Korea, and Vietnam.)

    So that's the paradigm that we have. And our system of government, with the vast number of veto points, is skewed depiberately to make it very, very hard to do stuff.

    Add this to the fact that failure of government plays directly into the Republican credo that government can't do anything right, so it's better to leave it all up to the private sector. So, if Republicans fail, it's just government being government. They are held to no standard in this regard. Either you like it, or you think they are wrong, and you vote Democrat.

    So, all the onus is on Democrats. We are the ones who say that government can be a positive force. We are the ones who belive that government can and should step in and solve problems, and is capable of doing it well. This is something that needs to be proven time and time again, whenever the press trots out the "Is Government Broken?" pieces.

    In government, DOING STUFF is hard. That's because there are honest differences of opinion on how much stuff should be done, where it should be done, and by who. There are local concerns where DOING STUFF might hurt your state, or the stuff that other Democrats want to do isn't the same stuff that you want to do. There's a lot of talk about all of this, and threats, and all sorts of nonsense that most people only hear as general noise and disagreement.

    Meanwhile, the Republicans are nice and organized. Because when you want to do nothing, it's pretty simple. There are no disagreements on how much nothing to do. And whatever dems are trying to do, Republicans can always, ALWAYS say they're trying to do too much.

    This is where the press just completely loses the game, because they seem to believe that there's some level of something that Republicans will agree with. But you can't split the difference between something and nothing. Less of something is still something, which is too much for today's Republicans.

    So, if Dems are put into office and they do nothing, they may as well be Republicans. (Imagine we had the President and Senate we had three years ago, what kind of Health Care bill would we have? Answer: the same one we have today, none. Hopefully, that'll change in the next few weeks.) So the only hope for Democrats, when they get into office, is to damn the torpedoes and go for it. Pass everything they promised, as quickly as they can. Forget about process stories (nobody's ever voted because of reconcilliation, or the fillibuster, or because congress passed a good bill too quickly) and just go, go, go. It's the only way to convince the American people that GOVERNMENT isn't broken, it's the Republican party that's breaking government. That if you put enough dems into office, stuff will get done.

    The Health Care battle has been a long, hard slog, and hopefully it will turn out okay in the next couple of weeks. (Still a damn good bill. Not perfect, but a starter-house.). That will show America that stuff CAN get done. If the economy turns around this year (a definite possibility), then it'll show that we HAVE done stuff.

    And that's the ONLY way Dems will win elections.



  • comment on a post Citizens Only over 4 years ago

    But it is a strong idea for those who don't particurlarly mind corporations spending billions for their very own government representatives. In the minds of conservatives, Exxon isn't the enemy, they're the ones everyone should be thankful for.

    However, suppose Renault, a company owned in-part by the French government, spends vast amounts of money to get someone into Congress? That's the kind of thing that even Glen Beck couldn't get behind.

    Of course, Obama couldn't touch it with a mile-long pole, or conservatives would invent a reason to hate it. It would have to come out as some sort of joint-resolution with absolutely no comment from the White House.

  • I've heard this argument a lot. It's understandable, and a standard emotional reaction.
    But rather than a "reward", look at bills like this as a positive motivator to change behavior that needs changing. That means, like the disruptive kid in class, the worst behavior get more attention.

    With these kinds of complaints, there's a lot of "what's in it for me?" going on. It's an easy trap to fall into, but we REALLY can't think like that. It's a line of reasoning that leads to some really horrible results. (Remember that idiot screaming on CNBC about how HE doesn't want to pay for YOUR mortgage).
    You do your part. You're responsible. That's its own reward. Other people need help getting there, so we need to help them. It's not perfect (I'd love to see a lot of the money going to high speed trains and public transit) but it's SOMETHING, and it works. Which is more than we've had in a long time.

  • Thanks. We've got to see through the bullshit propoganda on our own, because the MSM won't do it for us. (I read a Slate article today on how the Cash for Clunkers bill isn't worth it environmentally. No mention that it was primarily a stimulative bill with a happy environmental side-effect.)
    We also can't fall prey to the fallacy that there is a certain amount of "political capital" that is spent on bills in a zero-sum manner. Not re-upping this bill doesn't make health care any more likely to pass.
  • First off, as far as goodwill is concerned, any gains there would be at the margins. Yes, republicans likely took advantage of the bill, and no, it likely isn't going to change their voting patterns, but that was never the point.
    Second, people aren't going to buy only cars made by US car companies, but a vast majority of the cars sold in the US are manufactured here, as well. It's just cheaper for Toyota and Honda (whose hybrids are the most popular) to have their plants in the U.S..
    There has ALWAYS been government participation in our purchasing decisions. Massive subsidies and sin taxes are all over us. From tobacco to alcohol to corn, the government is involved in what we should do. That's life. And if the government is going to be involved, it'd be awfully nice if they did it in a way that was a net positive for consumers and the environment.

    Next, how in the hell is a tax incentive on fuel efficient vehicles easier, or better? Tax incentives are a mess already, the guy who can't afford buying a new car today STILL can't afford it if we give him a tax incentive, it lasts a lot longer and is, in the aggregate, more expensive, it would have to be modified constantly to keep up with new mpg standards, and it WOULDN'T do what the Cash for Clunkers bill is designed to do, GET PEOPLE TO BUY FUEL EFFICIENT CARS. (Try and tell me that a tax incentive would've spurned the rush on hybrid vehicles that this bill did.)

    The proportional benefits are that IT'S A GOOD BILL THAT DID GOOD THINGS.
    Every time the dems pass a bill that succeeds, it clears the way for new bills. It builds trust that maybe, just maybe, the dems can do something right. It helps the economy, which is the big fear right now. The fact that Republicans are up in arms over this is a pretty good indication that it's something that they're scared of.  

  • comment on a post Cash for Clunkers a clunker of a bill over 4 years ago
    The "Cash for Clunkers" is a damned good bill, but I can see how people would be confused.
    It's primary purpose is stimulative, not environmental. The goal is to get people to buy new cars NOW, instead of six months or a year or five years from now. That helps the car companies keep their factories open and people on the job and plugs some extra cash into the economy that is desperately needed.
    In ADDITION to it's stimulative properties, there's an environmental side to it as well. While the environmental benefits aren't huge, they're not meaningless, either. Yes, there are environmental costs to junking the old vehicles and an environmental cost to building the new ones, but over ten years that cost is more than balanced out by the higher mpg of the vehicle PLUS the fact that those people would be buying new cars eventually anyway. Bottom line, the net environmental impact is positive.
     Finally, by getting people into cars with higher mpg, it'll get people into cars that won't break their budget when gas prices inevitably go up again.
    So the bill does three things. Stimulates the economy (primary), is a positive for the environment (secondary), and helps people absorb gas shocks (tertiary.) Plus, the bill is so popular that it ran out of money in a week! I'd say that's a pretty damned effective (and popular) bill.
    Republicans know this, so they want to kill it as soon as possible. If people start believing that the democratic congress can write effective, popular legislation, that's the ballgame.
  • I'm pro-gun in general, but I also believe that we need to close an assload of loopholes.
    Hey, red state folks, owning a gun in rural Nebraska is a whole different ball of wax than owning one in inner city Chicago. I want YOU GUYS to own all the guns you want. I want people in inner city Chicago to own as few guns as humanly possible.
    Why? Because you guys hunt. You guys live out in the middle of nowhere. Because there are certainly instances where you guys might need to protect yourselves against intruders and the cops are too far away. I understand that. I accept that. I applaud that.
    In inner city Chicago, none of these things are much of concern. People in Chicago own guns so they can shoot other people. Cops are freakin' everywhere. The only thing that guns accomplish is a greater likelihood of some idiot getting shot over something stupid.
    Note to the NRA, we're stacked on top of each other, here in the city. It makes me feel much safer if I can get into an argument with the idiot who lives across the hall from me if I'm safe in the knowledge that neither of us own a .357.


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