Americans Elect and other ponderings

Still4hill has a link up where you can go track Hillary on America Elect. A couple of things you should do when you go to track her. One, note that Obama and Ron Paul are in the lead. Deuchbag blogger boyz strike again!

I’m sorry, but I just can’t take Ron Paul seriously. Look at him!

Tee hee! He’s so silly looking.

I’m sure I’m not alone in noticing how boring this election season is so far.

My predictions for 2012:

Winner of the 2012 Presidential Election: Tamerlane

His Running Mate: John Smart

It’s time for new leadership, America. Look through Hillary’s opponents on Americans Elect. Note how many of them, most of whom are elected officials, have dead eyes. It’s time for real Americans like Tamerlane and John to step up.

Biggest Celebrity Death: Lindsay Lohan.

End of the world in 2012? I think not. The whole Mayan calender thing is a crock of shit. The mayan calender restarts when it ends after several mellenia. People in America just launch themselves into self induced crisis after self induced crisis and we wonder why we’re “declining.” *eyeroll* All empires fall. Accept it. How many times have we had to suffer through mass hysteria about the end of the world when nothing happens? Nothing happened during Y2K, nothing happened on May 21st. The world is not ending in 2012, dipshits.

However, some people believe that big things, maybe even good things, will happen that will raise our global collective consciousness. I don’t know if that’s true either and 2012 won’t be a year like any other, but it least it sounds less depressing than the world ending.

Either way, 2012 will be a good year. Ginger Cat for President!

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Ohio Lawmakers are Special People

As usual, I have been neglecting you, readers. But expect my neglect to continue. I have been frying bigger fish. For example, I have just been made a section editor at my school newspaper that comes with a handsome scholarship. And my Daddy said people didn’t want to read what I write!

I am appropriately heading the opinion section of the Newspaper. If you are wondering what newspaper I’m going to be an editor at, you can check it out here.  In fact, help a sister out and please do check it out. We’re trying to increase readership and plan on doing some revamping, so feedback is always helpful.

But something alarming has recently (five minutes ago) come to my attention. The ‘Hearrtbeat’ Bill has just passed the House in Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio— The Ohio House has approved three abortion-related bills, including a measure that would impose the strictest abortion limit in the nation.

The Republican-led House on Tuesday voted 54-43 on the measure to ban abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

The House also approved 64-32 a measure to prohibit abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy if a doctor determines the fetus could survive outside the womb. It voted 62-35 to approve a bill that would prevent certain health insurers from covering abortions.

That means Ohio Right to Life has been put in an awkward position after they opposed the bill and created the stiffest anti-abortion restrictions in the country.

Planned Parenthood said that they’ll file a lawsuit the minute Kasich puts his signature on it.

DAMN STRAIGHT! This is not only unconstitutional, but disgusting. I always joke about being an Ohioan. And normally I would say I’m almost always ashamed of being an Ohioan, but I’m not. Ohioans are good, resilient people. The weather sucks and the economy sucks. That often results in depression, and Ohioans are seldom unmedicated, but our glazed smiles when you say hi to us will tell you that we do what it takes to pull through. And if that means running pill factories near the Ohio river, well by God, we’ll do it!

Ohioans get a bad rap from things like this. We’re a swing state because most of the state is rural, but we have liberal and moderate pockets here and there like Northeast Ohio and Columbus- which was recently referred to by a gay couple on an episode of True Life: I’m Getting Married! as “The San Francisco of the Midwest.”

As a resident of Northeast Ohio I run into all sorts- both wildly liberal and freakishly reactionary, and most of the people I know are one fry short of a happy meal. This may be because I am a magnet for mental illness- even my cat is on prozac. Or it is more likely because Ohio is filled with characters. But we are good people, and the women of Ohio- who all ready struggle with a sluggish economy, do not deserve this shit.

Ohioans are special people, but Ohio Lawmakers should be committed. And if Kasich signs the Heartbeat Bill, he should go to Hell.

Back to the Pipe and the Pole

Here is a letter I received a few days ago from the President of my University.

Last summer, I formed an advisory task force to assist the University in developing a plan to prepare for probable reductions in state funding for higher education and to assist the University in developing a new instructional resource model. The task force consists of faculty, academic deans, administrators, and staff.

On December 18, 2010, the task force held an open forum. At that forum, Provost Mearns, who is co-chair of the task force, discussed the status of the task force’s efforts to assist in developing a contingency plan for next year’s budget. I attended the forum.

Since then, the task force has continued to provide me with additional recommendations. Those recommendations are detailed in a written report that is now available on the task force’s webpage.

This report recommends overall budget target ranges for each of the University’s major sectors: academic colleges, academic support units, and university administrative units. I have accepted these sector recommendations. In December, I provided differentiated budget targets to each of the vice presidents who manage university administrative units, and I directed them to prepare a contingency plan to meet their unit’s respective target. They have submitted their plans to me, which I am currently reviewing.

The task force’s report also provided specific recommendations about differentiated targets for each of the academic colleges. After developing a list of strategic factors and applying those factors to readily available data, the task force assigned each academic college to one of three groups, or bands. As discussed in the report, a college or an administrative unit can meet its proposed budget target through both permanent expense reductions and reliable revenue enhancements.

After reviewing an initial draft of the report, I met at length with Provost Mearns, Vice President George Walker and Tim Long, the University’s Budget Director, to review the strategic factors and the data relied upon by the task force to develop its differentiated recommendations for each of the academic colleges. In making my decisions, I relied upon the same strategic factors developed by the task force, including: how a college’s programs aligned with the University’s primary strategic goals; a college’s financial performance relative to the other colleges at the University; the extent to which a college has programs, including doctoral programs, with relatively few students; an assessment of the productivity and impact of the college’s research faculty; the success of a college’s students as measured by undergraduate retention and graduation rates and post-graduate licensing exams; and the ability of a college to develop differential tuition plans or increase enrollment above existing limits.

After this review, I accepted all of the task force’s recommendations with respect to the colleges’ budget targets, with one exception. I have delegated to Provost Mearns the responsibility of establishing differentiated targets for the various academic support units that report to him.

Provost Mearns has communicated the college targets to the deans, and he has asked them to provide him with their college’s plan by February 22, 2011. He has also directed the deans to consult with their respective faculties and staff in developing their college’s plan.

By early March, I anticipate that our collective strategy for meeting this financial challenge will begin to become more clear. Governor Kasich will present his proposed budget to the legislature on or before March 15. I anticipate that, when his budget is released, we will know much more about two of the most important factors that are driving this process: the approximate amount of any reduction in the state subsidy for higher education, and the limit on any possible increase in undergraduate tuition. By that time, we will also have had an opportunity to evaluate the various college and administrative plans that have been submitted.

When we have more information from the Governor, I will hold an open forum in March to discuss our University plan.

I know that this process is difficult and that it is causing some anxiety and uncertainty. I believe, however, that we have established a collaborative and transparent process that will enable the University to overcome this challenge. Indeed, I am encouraged by the constructive contributions that so many of you have already made to our contingency planning process. Therefore, I am confident that we will emerge from this process as a stronger institution — which is our goal.

Thank you for your service to our students, our University, and our community.

Indeed. To those of you who still believe in the American Dream, let me explain how it really works for you. Say Jane wants to grow up and become a Doctor. But Jane and her family live piss poor, so she works hard in High School, gets good grades in accelerated courses and takes part in track and cheerleading or  some such other extracurricular nonsense that will look good on college applications. She gets accepted into a good school and manages to keep from getting pregnant. What a stand up gal Jane is, don’t you think? She gets some scholarships. Good for her! She gets Pell Grants and subsidized and unsubsidized loans through FAFSA. That’s our girl.

Before you know it she is accepted into Harvard Medical School and graduates with honors. Bravo! The problem is, now Jane has upwards of $200,000 worth of student loans to pay back. She gets married and begins practice as a pediatrician, her lifelong dream. But it will be a while before she begins to really rake in the dough and there are medical malpractice lawsuits on the horizon. Nonetheless, she and her husband, a college professor, are living well, having babies and attending church on Sundays. Everything seems fine until disaster strikes. Her mother is still piss poor and has just suffered from a stroke. A neighbor finds her laying face down in her apartment surrounded by urine and her own feces. Jane’s mother is admitted to the hospital and is soon discharged. Incontinent, paralyzed from the waist down and unable to take care of herself, Jane’s mother is just above the income threshold for medicaid and there are limited funds. She has no Health Insurance and therefore cannot afford to live in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility, so Jane has to quit her job to take care of her mother, as her husband is unwilling to quit his. The financial problems caused by the fact that Jane can no longer supplement the family income as well as the demands of taking care of a sick elderly woman takes a toll on their marriage, and Jane’s husband starts banging his secretary. They get a divorce and the children are heartbroken. Jane is now a single mother with no job. She still has student loans and legal fees to pay back, no home because she can’t afford a mortgage, and three kids to put through college. Her oldest daughter Sarah is devastated by the break up of her family and commits suicide.  Three months later, Jane’s mother dies due to inadequate medical care. Jane’s American Dream has turned into an American Nightmare.

Sounds extreme, right? Wrong. Things like this are happening everywhere. I can tell you that it is extremely difficult to pay for college, and I will explain why. Most people have an idea of the average college student’s financial situation. A freshman will have mom and dad foot most of the bill and private loans will take care of the rest, right?

Wrong.

Take me for example. I graduated from that Shithole High School a semester early with decent grades and community service. Go me, right? I figured I might as well try to go to college, so I briefly (and by briefly, I mean for about two seconds) thought about going into the military and even told the Hell Hole High School that those were my plans so they would let me graduate early. I took the ASVAB tests and got excellent scores, fielding calls from every military branch recruiter known to man telling me to join so I could become an officer. Of course, I am not going to go into the Military. I am a pacifist. So I changed my phone number to get rid of the recruiters and enrolled at the local junior college, with plans to save money on Gen Eds in mind. Problem was, my Dad makes too much money for me to get FAFSA and we are somewhat estranged. I had to work my tail off and go to School part time so I could get taken off of his tax returns, as a student has to be enrolled in school full time to be on their parents tax returns after they’re eighteen and to still be on their parents health insurance plan.

In any case, I no longer have Health Insurance but now that I’m off his taxes I go to School overtime, supplemented by a hefty financial aid award. But get this!

President Obama and his aides have spent a good bit of time over the last several weeks talking about the importance of education. Now they announce that they plan to cut spending on Pell grants, the big student-aid program that helps students in (roughly) the bottom half of the income distribution. As Jackie Calmes explains:

Pell grants for needy college students would be eliminated for summer classes, and graduate students would start accruing interest immediately on federal loans, though they would not have to pay until after they graduate; both changes are intended to help save $100 billion over 10 years to offset the costs of maintaining Pell grants for nine million students, according to administration officials.

Oh, fantastic! Keep in mind that my situation is not unique. Many students are like me, with families either too poor or too unwilling to help pay for school. I have a friend, for example, who had to run away from home when she was in Hell High School because her Step Father was beating her mother. She supported herself with two jobs and help from family and friends until she graduated, and now she has classes with me. I don’t know how she does it, because she is forced by FAFSA to file as a dependent even though she receives no help from her family and supports herself completely. She is awarded funds based on the assumption that her parents help her when in reality she has to pay for full time school as well as everything else.

And why is it that school is so expensive? Gods only know. The cost of living has increased exponentially since my parents were in college. It is easy for some stuck-in-the past 1950’s holdover to lecture one of us stupid delinquent teenagers about how THEY did it when they were our age so why can’t we? Well, I feel like saying to these idiots, you’re the ignorant fools who elected conservative Presidents and congresses for the past several decades and caused the inflation and budget cuts that led to all of these problems. Get over yourself.

Not only that, but tuition is obscenely expensive since now colleges are run more like businesses instead of academic institutions that shape young minds and prepare the leaders of tomorrow. I have to pay thousands of dollars for Professors to teach me the same bull shit I’ve been learning since the sixth grade (which is not to say I don’t learn a lot in College these days from certain professors, but I digress) and then once I and many students have paid several more thousands to complete an undergraduate degree two thirds of us STILL won’t be able to get a job. And people wonder why our education system is so behind.

Well, one might say, you may not be achieving all of your fancy starry eyed dreams but at least you are bettering yourself for the real world. Maybe you’ll be a hospital administrator instead of a chemical engineer but at least you have the right to a comfortable lifestyle and a reasonable retirement, right? Wrong.

So far, Obama has had the following “bright ideas” and has proposed them to Congress:

(1) Obama proposed (and Congress passed) a $112 Billion REDUCTION in revenues coming into the Social Security trust fund for this year; that is a cut of 30% in workers’ contributions to the Fund.  I think we can be pretty sure this $112 Billion annual cut in Social Security taxes will be made permanent with the full agreement of Obama. It won’t take long, at that rate, for Social Security to drain its fund (and current surplus) and go out of business.

(2) Obama has proposed a 50% REDUCTION in federal aid to the program that helps poor people pay heating bills for their homes

(3) Obama is proposing that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac go out of business, which will make it harder — if not impossible — for lower-income and middle-income people to buy their homes instead of paying endless rents

(4) Obama is proposing that the interest homeowners pay for their mortgages NO longer be fully deductible on their income taxes. In the early years of any mortgage, the bulk of the monthly mortgage payment goes to pay the interest on the mortgage; having that great sum be deductible has made it possible for people to buy homes and not default on their mortgages when finances are tight (as they often are when new homeowners are just starting out).

The result of Obama’s “bright” ideas, numbers (3) and (4), will be to make it harder for current homeowners to SELL their homes, will DEFLATE the value of their homes, will cause more people to default on their mortgages, and will create a situation where communities will take in LESS in the way of property taxes because of the number of vacant, abandoned homes that will become liabilities.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
And Obama is doing all of this cutting less than two months after signing into law tax CUTS for the wealthiest Americans.

The Republicans have the EXACT right Democrat in the White House for their evil purposes. Obama is: (1)  helping the Republicans realize their decades-long goal of destroying the Social Security program, (2) proposing policies that will create an even wider division between the “haves” and “have-nots” in America, and (3)proposing policies that will create a sub-class of Americans that the top one percent of Americans will be able to reduce to economic slavery.

That’s right. So long house in the ‘burbs. Bye bye white picket fence, 2.4 children and Labrador Retriever. S’later retirement fund, pensions, IRA. Hi poverty, what it do destitution? We’re the leaders of tomorrow. Nice to meetcha!

It just won’t do. Obama is a Republican Dream, not an American Dream. Why, just look at the cover of one of his famous “books.”

The Audacity of Nope

To Obama, this is the American Dream. Jane’s life would be everyone’s life with the policies he is currently championing. Can you believe this is happening? Well, I can. I’ve been saying who Obama is from the get-go. All it took was reading his idea of the American Dream in the pages of this book, where he talked about cutting Social Security and used Reagan as an example of a President to emulate. He’s stuck to his word, too. And has managed to unite this divided nation of ours- against him. On the 100the anniversary of Reagan’s whatever it was I was subjected to fawning book covers and pages about Obama’s hero for days. And now he is cutting Social Security with his bipartisan Republican pals, just like he promised.

I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t jive with the Obama the fauxgressives were selling us. This whole thing just isn’t going to work for me. I’m sure it won’t work for a lot of you, either, so run for office instead of electing more morons who will continue to pull this crap on us and expect to get reelected. My plan is to go to Law School and try to change these problems from within instead of sitting here and bitching about it.

But Isis, I can hear some people saying. Law School is expensive. You depend on those Pell Grants Obama and the Tea Party losers are cutting left and right and spending on unnecessary wars, a shitty Health Care Law and Michelle’s vacations in Spain to pay for your tuition, books and other fees. What are you going to do?

Well, shit. Whatever FAFSA doesn’t cover anymore I’ll supplement with scholarships. I just got a job that will pay for my Master’s Degree in Social Work so long as I get a good GPA. And certain agencies and non profits in my field of study will pay back all of my tuition if I end up working for them. As for the rest, it’s back to the pole and the pipe. And don’t think I’ll be the only one.

Tuesday Evening Links

I refuse to comment on the recent Mosque building at Ground Zero controversy. I don’t have the energy for the stupidity that will doubtless ensue. I will say that burning books is despicable and un-American.

The State Department described as “un-American” plans by a controversial church to burn Korans in memory of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks — though the head of that church says he is not deterred.

Of course he is “not deterred.” Look at him! *points*

Ask him about the Harry Potter books he’s all ready thrown into the fires, I bet his handlebar mustache will probably twitch into at toothy grin.

Like Margaret Cho, I sometimes wish Jesus would come back and scream, “THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT!”

Remind me again, I am living in reality, and not the Twilight Zone, right? Apparently Rome is burning. Reagan, I mean, Obama is planning more tax breaks for big business.

President Barack Obama will call on Congress to pass new tax breaks that would allow businesses to write off 100 percent of their new capital investments through 2011, the latest in a series of proposals the White House is rolling out in hopes of showing action on the economy ahead of the November elections.

Don’t insult VooDoo by calling this VooDoo economics. Similarly, Obama shouldn’t insult dogs by saying Republicans talk about him “like he’s a dog.” Um, dogs are cute, loyal, honorable, furry and loving. None of that fits. But we should cut Obama some slack. I mean, look at all those weirdos from Arkansas saying he was a drug dealer, all those independent investigations saying he murdered his best friend, all those attacks on his wife, the skits comparing his daughter to a pig…

Oh, wait. That was Bill Clinton.

HCR Senate Bill: Epic Fail

It turns out there is a Goddess. The Democrats have decided to put a halt on Health Reform.

The gear shifting by Democrats underscored how the health care effort had been derailed by the Republican victory in the Massachusetts special election last week, which effectively denied Democrats the 60th vote they need to overcome a Republican filibuster in the Senate. Originally, Mr. Reid wanted to finish a bill early last August.

The lawmakers’ comments also served to lower expectations for the president’s State of the Union address on Wednesday. Lawmakers said they did not expect Mr. Obama to lay out a specific strategy.

No one needs to elaborate on what a complete joke Obama and the Senate Democrats Health Care Reform effort has been.

But John at Liberal Rapture says what we’re all thinking:

For those of us who wanted a real overhaul and a public option this battle was lost last summer. I’m glad the Senate bill is probably dead. It was a bad, retrograde bill. Obama should be glad too. If he wants to salvage this year, he needs the Senate bill disposed of quickly. He may not know it or accept it but this is best for him politically. Democrats can now spend time on issues that matter to people. They may even govern, which might, in fact, save their majorities in the fall.

[…]

Regardless, this needs to be stated clearly: Health care reform failed because of Obama. (Major reform has failed. Minor adjustments might still be made.) He was an anti-leader through out the process. He gave away the most important bargaining chips at the start. Then, as deadlines slipped by, he allowed awful deals to define the bill. He squandered an opportunity that comes along once a generation. What could have been a truly transformative bill became a soulless lump of corruption. His actions on health care became the perfect example of the inexperience and arrogance that so many warned about. The community organizer failed to organize his own party and his own thoughts on the matter.

Comparisons to LBJ and FDR are obvious. Both those men used the bully pulpit to change the American landscape. Obama used it to preen. Hundreds of speeches and TV appearances and still no one knew his core beliefs on health care. (Does he have any?) No one had a cogent narrative. (Was there one?) No one felt invested in his central initiative of 2009. (There was no reason for personal investment.)

He failed. Miserably.

So much for the President’s arrogant proclamation the other day: that his Health Reform effort would succeed where the Big Dawg’s failed because “You’ve got me.”

This is a tragedy, because if Obama were half the President Bill was, he would have learned from the Big Dawg’s mistakes. Health Care Reform failed in 1994 because the Clintons allowed hostile and uncooperative Democrats in Congress to derail their efforts.

Obama had an opportunity here to create a transformative bill that would have truly reformed our health care system. He had a supermajority in Congress and an MSM that would have wiped his butt for him if he’d asked. The wind was at his back and he squandered this opportunity. Now millions of American will continue their lives without Health Insurance.

What a class act, Mr. President. What a class act.

The Hypocrisy of Conservatives

mark_sanford

There is a right to Privacy. There is no right to  Hypocrisy.

-Congressman Barney Frank

Everyone has a right to their own privacy. Nobody deserves to have their personal lives, personality, character, and morals judged and analyzed by people who either don’t know them, have never met them, or hardly know them.

Politicians are people. As people, they also deserve that basic right. When choosing to vote for them, most Americans have never met them, and the journalists  who cover their campaigns, policies, and careers have also either never met them or hardly know them.

A majority of Americans do want their leaders to be decent people. An American voter votes on a candidate on faith, because they believe that candidate will do everything within their power to make their lives better. American voters, for the most part, want their leaders to be in Politics as Public Servants who believe in Public Service and Social Advocacy as a way to help others. It is, in fact, about “Putting People First.”   The same can perhaps be said of Police officers, Surgeons, and others whose professions affect people’s lives. A Surgeon saves lives, and a Police officer protects lives. A politician can affect lives in many different ways, depending on what policies they implement, bills they sign into law, legislation they write, or what message they publicly send to the world.

Politicians are supposed to be Public Servants. And a person who serves the people tries to help those people. By extension, a person who helps others is generally considered to be a good person.

That being said, people, and most especially good people, can be complicated people with successes and failures. It is unfair to judge them solely on their failures and foolish to judge them only on their successes.  And sometimes, good people can make mistakes and have problems in their personal lives. In case you haven’t noticed, shit happens.

That is why a politician’s personal life should never be aired in public. That is why there should be a basic right to privacy and that right should not be violated.

The examination of Politician’s personal lives started in the late eighties, with the emergence of reactionary right wing “values voters” that picked and chose Bible Verses to advance bigotry against women, gays, racial minorities, joy, laughter, and other blasphemous ungodly characters. They found a home with Movement  Conservatives in the early 1990’s. And, as David Brock writes in his memoir, Blinded By the Right:

their judgments  consisted of, “…making accusations with no proof, and of using ill-defined issues of ‘judgment’ and ‘character’ to discredit opponents based solely on alleged personal behavior. Sexual McCarthyism had been introduced into modern right-wing politics.”

These “Family Values” nutjobs and their allies in the media have an interesting way of judging elected officials’ personal lives.  As John at LR states:

The bible literalists who spend many a happy hour bashing gays because of a few bible verses are mighty forgiving of Conservative adulterers as Joe Conason rightly points out. The biblical punishment for adultery is death by stoning. I have yet to see a right winger pitch at stone at Newt, Sanford, or Ensign. But say “Lewinsky” to one of them and watch them froth. I guess I don’t have the translation of the bible that includes the phrase “Forgive the Republicans but keep on trashing the Democrats with all the invective at your command.”

And maybe I am just being immature and completely juvenile about this (okay, I am) but the Big Dawg just got a couple of bl*wj*bs (granted, the Big Dawg’s sex scandal was a lot more fun, because there were characters like Linda Tripp and Lucciane Goldberg and Kenn Starr and other weirdos involved. Like a soap opera!). Sanford has recently been caught in a one-year affair with a chick from Argentina, and after lying about it to his wife, she caught him, and he actually asked her permission to go see his Mistress. Newt Gingrich, the coolest Conservative evah who will totally run for President and beat Palin in the Primaries! gave his wife divorce papers while she was on her death bed, then cheated on his second wife while he was calling Liberals “decadent” and “sick” and routinely sniffing through the Clintons’ panty drawers. Vitter, another Clinton Condemner, was caught with prostitutes. Larry Craig voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, and he tried to boink a guy in a bathroom stall. The list goes on. In fact, I have a list!

Since 1998 there has been an average of two sex scandals a year. There are twenty four in my list. Fourteen involve Republicans and ten involve Democrats. And, as Joe Conason says

the worst that a conservative must anticipate is a stern scolding, followed by warm assurances of God’s forgiveness and a swift return to business as usual.

The hilarious thing is that Right Wingers don’t even notice the double standard or the blatant hypocrisy. Just spend a few minutes reading the comments at Hillbuzz, which has pretty much been taken over by Reactionary Republicans, and you would come away believing that all Democrats are the most lewd, immoral, promiscuous cretins in the Universe. But mention Vitter, Sanford, or Ewing and you will get nothing but crickets.

More:

Rating the Greatest GOP Sex Scandals

Sanford’s Hypocrisy  Will Outlast Headlines of His Affair