20 February 2009

What to do with DC.....

The webmaster at electoral-vote.com did such a very good, humourous and concise write up of what just may happen in order for D.C. to get a bona-fide representative, I have decided to publish his write-up (with many thanks) here in it's entirety, from his website, February 20, 2009:

"House Seat for D.C. to be Debated by Senate Next Week

A bill to give D.C. a full seat in the House of Representative may clear Congress this session. Generally, Democrats are for it (because D.C. is full of Democrats) and Republicans are against it (because D.C. is full of Democrats). However, to make the bill more palatable to Republicans, it would increase the House from 435 members to 437 members, with the other seat going to the state that came closest in 2000 to getting another representative. That state is Utah, where the Republicans control the state machinery and can gerrymander the districts to make sure the new representative is a Republican. If the bill passes both houses of Congress and is signed by President Obama, it becomes law. No changes to the constitution are required. Congress has changed the size of the House many times in history as the nation grew.

Giving D.C. senators is a different story altogether. The constitution says clearly that each state gets two senators and this bill would not make D.C. a state. Making it a state would require only an act of Congress (which happened when Alaska and Hawaii) were admitted to the union), but Republicans would filibuster it to death because it would virtually guarantee two more Democratic senators. Other proposals to give the residents of D.C. representation in the Senate, such as making it part of Maryland, are nonstarters. (Making it part of Virginia would be even worse for the Republicans since it would change Virginia from a state trending blue to a permanently deep blue state; adding it to Maryland would change little.) Conceivably Republicans could accept making D.C. part of Utah, but Democrats would probably balk at that. If the Democrats were ever to achieve 60 votes in the Senate, actually admitting D.C. to the union as a state would probably be on the agenda. By way of analogy, the the European Union's executive branch (the European Commission) is in Belgium and the European Parliament meets in France for several sessions a year, although it also conducts some of its business in Brussels. The Secretariat is in Luxembourg. Neither is in some special no-man's land not part of any country."


Now, don't forget, DC already has 3 electors and has had them since 1964. If DC gets one official representative, I doubt that this will affect the number of electors for DC, for one of those three electors is supposed to stand for a representative that DC, up till now, does not have. Stranger than fiction, but true.

08 February 2009

Other voices on the Stimulus package

We have now heard enough right wing arguments in order to shake our heads in sadness at how deep the GOP has fallen into the pit.

Here some other, more sensible arguments:

Steven Perlstein, WAPO:

"Let's review some of the more silly arguments about the stimulus bill, starting with the notion that "only" 75 percent of the money can be spent in the next two years, and the rest is therefore "wasted."

As any economist will tell you, the economy tends to be forward-looking and emotional. So if businesses and households can see immediate benefits from a program while knowing that a bit more stimulus is on the way, they are likely to feel more confident that the recovery will be sustained. That confidence, in turn, will make them more likely to take the risk of buying big-ticket items now and investing in stocks or future ventures.

Moreover, much of the money that can't be spent right away is for capital improvements such as building and maintaining schools, roads, bridges and sewer systems, or replacing equipment -- stuff we'd have to do eventually. So another way to think of this kind of spending is that we've simply moved it up to a time, to a point when doing it has important economic benefits and when the price will be less."

...."And then there is Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), complaining in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal that of the 3 million jobs that the stimulus package might create or save, one in five will be government jobs, as if there is something inherently inferior or unsatisfactory about that. (Note to Coburn's political director: One in five workers in Oklahoma is employed by government.)"

...."Actually, what's striking is that supposedly intelligent people are horrified at the thought that, during a deep recession, government might try to help the economy by buying up-to-date equipment for the people who protect us from epidemics and infectious diseases, by hiring people to repair environmental damage on federal lands and by contracting with private companies to make federal buildings more energy-efficient.

What really irks so many Republicans, of course, is that all the stimulus money isn't being used to cut individual and business taxes, their cure-all for economic ailments, even though all the credible evidence is that tax cuts are only about half as stimulative as direct government spending."

Paul Krugman, NYT:

"A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to economic recovery. Over the last two weeks, what should have been a deadly serious debate about how to save an economy in desperate straits turned, instead, into hackneyed political theater, with Republicans spouting all the old clich├ęs about wasteful government spending and the wonders of tax cuts.

It’s time for Mr. Obama to go on the offensive. Above all, he must not shy away from pointing out that those who stand in the way of his plan, in the name of a discredited economic philosophy, are putting the nation’s future at risk. The American economy is on the edge of catastrophe, and much of the Republican Party is trying to push it over that edge."

Dean Baker, The American Prospect:

"Spending that is not stimulus is like cash that is not money. Spending is stimulus, spending is stimulus. Any spending will generate jobs. It is that simple. There is a question of whether the spending will go to areas that will provide benefits, long-term or short-term, to the economy, but there is no question that money that is spent will create jobs and therefore is stimulus.

Any reporter who does not understand this fact has no business reporting on the economy."

More to come.......

07 February 2009

Coat and Tie??? Is this news???

Former Bush "43" Chief of Staff Andy Card apparently doesn't realize that the economy is going to hell in a handbasket. For him, a president without a suit jacket and tie on in the WH is a disaster.

Perhaps Mr. Card could have done himself a favor and done some research first, for even George W. Bush, Jr. has been photographed without suit and tie in the WH. Here is a slideshow of former presidents who also wore relaxed attire from time to time in the WH, including (GASP!!) republican hero of the ages Ronald Reagan.

And then we have Senator Lindsey Graham, who is claiming that Obama is AWOL on the stimulus package, less than 3 weeks after the man took the reins of power in the white house. Why AWOL? Well, because Obama is not listening to every "suggestion" that the opposition has for him.

Based on the behaviour we see coming out of the GOP, you can forget bi-partisanship from all but four GOP senators and probably from the entire house GOP caucus. The next four years are guaranteed to be the ugliest four years in american political history.

Why? Because the GOP has nothing to lose and because, based on the array of senate seats up for grabs in 2010, the statistical probability is extremely high that the GOP will lose even more seats in both the senate and in the house. By my calculations, there is not one single truly endangered democratic senate seat up for grabs in 2010, but at least 5, maybe 6 endangered GOP seats, starting with Voinovich's seat in more-and-more-blue-leaning OH. An injured and cornered animal is a dangerous animal, and we are already seeing the GOP froth at the mouth.

And what about that new GOP RNC chief? Well, Michael Steele is already in the middle of a scandal. In other words, no new news out of the GOP, other than the racist portion of this party, which is not exactly small, which will probably buck the party for having voted in a black man to be chief of the party. You can enjoy David Duke's ranting and raving here.

And the President of the United States? Well, Barack wrote an op-ed that pretty much sums it all up.

Nuff said. Alf Landon, step aside. I present you with a much, much more inept GOP than we saw in 1936.