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Number of posts: 158
Email address: email
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Posts by Monica Smith:
- Allowing insurance companies to deny coverage to 113,000 to 297,000 individuals, including 9,000 to 42,000 children, with pre-existing conditions.
- Rescinding consumer protections for 384,000 individuals who have health insurance through their employer or the market for private insurance.
- Eliminating health care tax credits for up to 13,000 small businesses and 182,000 families.
- Increasing prescription drug costs for 7,700 seniors who hit the Part D drug “donut hole” and denying new preventive care benefits to 99,000 seniors.
The Senior Senator from Kentucky and Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, has issued a preemptive dither about the prospect of corporations contracting with federal agencies having to disclose contributions to candidates for public office whenever they exceed $5000 in a single year. The Washington Post refers to it as a “slam,” but, from my observation of McConnell, a dither is more likely than a “slam,” and certainly there’s no dunk.
“outrageous and anti-Democratic abuse of executive branch authority.”
Does have the ring of strength, until you consider that to accuse a Democratic chief executive of being anti-Democratic is to indulge a self-vitiating claim. But, clearly, the Senator has reason to be annoyed.
The Okefenokee is a swamp on the Georgia/Florida border. That means it’s a forest standing in water, interspersed with some open waters connected by man-made canals. The Okefenokee Swamp Park people describe it thusly:
Headwaters of the Suwannee and St. Mary’s Rivers, Okefenokee is a National Wildlife Refuge which covers nearly a half million acres.
Okefenokee Swamp Park is a convenient point of entry and a magnificent show-window for the “Land of the Trembling Earth.”
Alvin Greene, the ex-military man who volunteered himself as a candidate for the United States Senate in 2010, was the object of some amusement. That he got 28% of the vote, while the incumbent garnered a solid majority with 62% is of interest, mainly because this post is about percentages and South Carolina and a couple of other more or less significant southern states.
Percentages are numbers and numbers don’t lie, but they don’t tell the whole truth either…
To put a southern handle on this story, let me refer you to the Arkansas banker, Warren Stephens, opining in the Wall Street Journal about the disaster that’s coming as what he calls “the federal government allocating credit.” The reason the Congress reclaiming the purse strings is a disaster in his book is because that’s what was reserved to the Federal Reserve Bank when it was set up as a private corporation by the Congress. Why Congress gave up the power of the purse is a matter of speculation for another day.
Any number of people are pointing fingers and beating chests in response to only 30% of Jacksonville, Florida’s registered voters taking part in the latest round of the Mayoral selection process. As a strong believer in citizenship as a bundle of obligations (to vote, to hold office, to serve on juries, to provide material support, to draft legislation and to enforce the law), I certainly agree that 30% is not a good showing.
However, this is a free country and we are free not to shoulder some of our obligations, or even none at all, on any given day. If that makes us freeloaders, so be it.
That’s what one almost has to conclude after perusing the McClatchy review of how the Party of No, including South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, nay sayer and ObamaCare slayer par excellence, continue to dis their constituents in the interest of remaining ideologically pure. “Senator DeMint opposed President Obama’s government takeover of health care because he believed it would lead to…
Literally, in NOLA it’s the Details the cops are permitted and expected to take on, though no longer for cash, hiring themselves out as private security, which provide the clearest indication that the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) is rotten to the core. A study that’s just been completed by Obama’s Department of Justice provides the details in 158 pages, not all of which, I will admit, I have yet read.
The Washington Post published a short review on St. Patrick’s day, highlighting, in typical media fashion, discriminatory behavior that’s targeted towards certain populations and made obvious by the numbers.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, the new Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, dubbed John Boozman, the Republican Junior Senator from Arkansas, to replace Democrat Lincoln, a “splendid Senator,” in response to his blessedly brief comments in support of the manufacturers in his state who, like the bankers in Little Rock, are looking for “certainty.” Certainty, or the lack of it, is what presumably accounts for American industry and commerce secreting $1.9 trillion of cash in their vaults instead of investing in new plant and creating jobs. But, in true Republican fashion, that uncertainty (insecurity?) is someone else’s fault. So, the person to whom Boozman was speaking, Commerce Secretary Locke, is not likely to provide a fix and neither, for that matter, will a press release.
That’s the Three Rivers Regional Library in Southeast Georgia where the Altamaha, the Satilla and the St. Mary’s Rivers meander. It’s an ancient, primitive region where human imprints tend to disappear, but I’ve learned something new. It never occurred to me before that budget cuts are seen as an opportunity by bureaucrats to get rid of the public.
It’s not unusual for appointed public officials, when the money gets tight, to start slashing popular programs to get the public riled up. Considering citizen volunteers as competition to remove never occurred to me. But that’s what seems to be happening down on St. Simons Island, where the Altamaha and the Satilla meet the Atlantic Ocean.
So, I got this email communication from Paul Broun (GA-10), telling me about him keeping his commitment to “cut government waste” and I wrote back to the Congressman, not from my district, asking if he could cut himself, instead of wasting people’s time. Back came the message from his “unmanned box,” instructing me to visit his website and waste more time getting around the system he’s got to keep communications from out-of-district zip codes from bothering him. (To be fair, Broun’s not to only member of the house who likes to segregate his correspondents.)
Some of the players in the lawsuit that’s been filed on behalf of the monks of St. Joseph’s Abbey, just north of Covington, Louisiana, are players on the national stage at the moment. The Abbey’s dispute with the State of Louisiana as to whether or not they need to be licensed as embalmers in order to sell hand-crafted wooden coffins to the public, after festering for a couple of years, was finally taken up by the Institute for Justice, which filed a civil suit on their behalf …
What makes the topic timely is that the Institute for Justice is one of David Koch’s projects and Koch, of course, is the fellow who’s been instigating the mayhem in Wisconsin, egging on their novice Governor to demonstrate to all and sundry that “the government is an ass.”
It’s not what George Lakoff thinks. He’s still hung up on the strict father model and defines the conservative as a moral agenda. Not so. There is nothing moral about the conservative willingness to dominate, rather than exterminate their own kind.
We’ve all been pretty much taught that the lion (king of beasts) pride is a prototype of the mammalian family unit on its way to becoming a clan, troupe or tribe–more primitive than the antecedents of man because the dominant male kills off the kits of his predecessor in order to propagate his own seed.
Human males don’t do that, usually, especially when the females they consort with stick with them for life. Stepfathers, even in the technologically advanced civilization of the United States, do kill young children and typically excuse the unfortunate event as an example of discipline gone wrong or too far.
The people who bought more house than they needed for more than it was worth with loans they couldn’t pay back, even if the introductory interest rate stayed the same, already know that. What they probably don’t know is that it’s been a scam since the early nineties when our financial engineers decided, after the cities had been emptied to populate the suburbs during the seventies and eighties, that the equity Americans had built up in their homes needed to be “liberated” for the market. Indeed, Alan Greenspan, the long-serving chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, a private corporation, so advised Congress when he pushed for the elimination of the tax on the capital gains people realized from the sale of their homes. Tax free money was supposed to “incentivize” homeowners to uproot themselves and move on up.
The incentive worked like a charm. Suburban subdivisions and gated communities continued to sprout and filling up all that additional space with foreign-made junk kept freighters plying the Pacific …
As many will recall, the original USA Patriot Act (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) was sort of a rush job, passed by the Congress a little more after three planes crashed into the Pentagon and the World Trade Towers and gave the country a tremendous scare. But, while it seemed to have been done quickly, the passel of provisions, amending all kinds of laws already on the books with a word here and a phrase there, had obviously been a long time in preparation and lain on a shelf, just waiting for an opportune moment. In other words, it was the handiwork of a Democratic administration–a law enforcement initiative into which the “war on terror” was to be conveniently folded. Which probably provided the basis for the persistent Republican argument that law enforcement strategies are inappropriate for targeting terrorists.
One of the strangest occurrences in the Egyptian uprising has been the repeated reference by Mubarak, Suleiman and the General of the Army to the “youth,” who were supposed to go home and whose fathers were to call them home. It was strange because the images coming out of Egypt clearly showed people of all ages and cultural affiliations, including very aged men in traditional garb. Then, when it came out that there had been a group of internet organizers, who were referred to as the April 6 movement and had been active for about two years, that seemed to explain it. However, the title of Al Jezeera’s first compilation of events as Egypt Burning provides a somewhat different context. We aren’t just reminded of the iconic representation of the civil rights movement in “Mississippi Burning,” but of the fact that our own security state has been largely motivated for over four decades by a determination to avoid a repetition of our cities burning and the shooting of students at Kent State University. Mubarak and company are trying to rewrite history by proclaiming they wouldn’t do what they already did.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Sometimes, that’s because the intentions never get turned into actions. Other times, it’s because the intentions are just plain lies. Which category the latest initiative by a passel of Democratic Senators (Webb, Rockefeller, McCaskill and Manchin from the South, joined by Johnson, Nelson and Conrad from the Dakotas) falls in, I’ll leave for others to decide. But, Democrats do have a record of accomplishment. What the Senator from Virginia announced is: Senator Webb Co-Sponsors Bill to Protect Coal and Manufacturing State Economies to, in Senator Rockefeller’s words: “encourage companies to invest in new technologies and create jobs, … we need a system that gives major employers the framework to do so and to succeed.”
The 2010 Arkansas U.S. Senate election generated a lot of interest when Blanche Lincoln was primaried by Bill Halter, the Lt. Governor, and barely squeaked out ahead. Then, when a seat that had been held by Democrats for 131 years, was turned over to the Republican John Boozman, it hardly made a stir. Why would that be?
My guess is that what looks like a Cinderella story just doesn’t have a whole lot of appeal to the media prima donnas and campaign consultants who’d like everyone to believe that money is what decides elections.
Perhaps the strangest thing I ever read about George W. Bush was the characterization of him as a “pure idealist,” evidence for which was supposedly found in him thinking to bring democracy to Iraq and then bombing the cradle of civilization into smithereens to get it done. Stranger still was that this analysis came not from some flack but from a “serious” person like Adam Wolfson, writing for the Claremont Institute in 2005. More recently, that designation has shown up in the Autobiography of Tony Blair, after having been sanctioned by none other than Henry Kissinger himself, also intent on shaping public opinion back in 2005.
Two and a half trillion dollars. That’s a lot of money. That’s what some Republicans in the House of Representatives want to cut out of the national budget over ten years. That’s two and a half bucks, followed by twelve zeros.
Doesn’t sound like much, when you say it that way, does it? It isn’t. Two and a half trillion dollars is what the United States spend on medical goods and services in ONE YEAR. Spread that out over ten and you’re looking at two hundred and fifty billion a year. That’s just short of one third of what we handed to Wall Street in one month to bail out their banks. Seven hundred billion dollars that was, in one fell swoop — just in case you forgot the number, like I did.
- Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!
Sir Walter Scott, Marmion, Canto vi. Stanza 17.
When did it start? Was it with the bundling? Was that the start of the pervasive culture of deception that’s now evolved into the mythic existence often referred to as American exceptionalism or what some would characterize as the American Dream become a nightmare?
Shall we blame the Puritans?
If I’m Jack Kingston, Congressman from the First District of Georgia, I’ll cast my vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and, according to the Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the deprivation will be hard to miss, as a consequence of:
Why do the proponents of free enterprise insist that governmental regulations, which aim to conserve resources and level the playing field, will result in fewer people being hired — i.e., cost jobs? If we are not to give in to our own preconceived notions that people, whose predictions are often inconsistent with facts and results, must be liars, then there must be some rational basis for this persistent error. Because, in fact, the regulations actually involve the hiring of additional personnel, if only to collect relevant data, and the massive reduction in both public and private sector employment in the last decade can’t even be tangentially related to regulations that were hardly enforced. So, how to explain the persistent myth that regulations cost jobs?
Pleasant Street Historic Society is an all-volunteer 501.c.3 organization which just celebrated it’s 25th anniversary last year. Our intrepid engine, Melanie Barr writes:
I have been corresponding with the grandson of the Mr. Julius Rosenwald who helped fund over 5,000 schools for African Americans in the South when he realized that the local school boards were not constructing decent buildings. He made donations for over 500 schools in Florida and I believe there were at least 7 Rosenwald schools in Alachua County.
Not really, but it’s an appropriate metaphor for Congressman Jack Kingston, erstwhile leader of the Republican Theme Team from Georgia, who’s hoping to chair a subcommittee on Agriculture which will supervise the FDA and thinks that $1.5 billion over five years for food inspectors and industry regulators is just too much to swallow. To hear him tell it,
“You’re going to have 18,000 new food police going around inspecting everything from Girl Scout cookies to bake sales,” Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) told the Huffington Post.
Sometimes real news can take six months to trickle into the headlines of the main stream press. So, the news that prisoners in six Georgia prisons went on strike four days ago being noticed by the New York Times demonstrates some progress. But, for some reason, one of our national papers of record finds it necessary to “interpret” the issues:
Chief among the prisoners’ demands is that they be compensated for jailhouse labor. They are also demanding better educational opportunities, nutrition, and access to their families.
The specifics seem well-thought out and deserve public notice:
Don Hyatt reports in the Washington Gardener that the Director of the National Arboretum is planning to have the azaleas on a hillside cut to the ground and poisoned with herbicide. There are bureaucrats to contact. My own missive follows: Dear suddenly notorious bureaucrats: It’s a common tactic among bureaucrats, who consider themselves ignored or under-valued, to target particularly popular programs for termination and/or removal. This is not nice and generally not appreciated by the public who, after all, pay for maintenance and service, not wanton destruction. Poisoning plants, as Mr. Aker is reported to be planning at the National Arboretum, is always bad, regardless of the rationalizations humans come up with. That someone charged with preserving plant life is proposing to kill azaleas on purpose reminds us that Cain slew Abel because the latter had found favor with the Creator. Envy makes humans do really stupid stuff. Mr. Aker’s […]
The roots of citizen suppression are to be found in the writings of two Confederate Generals, Samuel Wagg Ferguson and Martin Witherspoon Gary in South Carolina, as dengre, a diarist on KOS alerts us. Ferguson provided the theoretical frame work, Gary the particulars:
Worthy of Comment
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When in the life of a democratic nation it becomes clear that the government has parted ways with the governed and evinces no intention to reform, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that the governed, i.e. the People, should declare in terms both broad and narrow the causes that impel them toward a separation of their own. We the People hold to be self-evident the same truths that were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence of 1776, chief among them an inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and we remind the nation’s leaders that e Read on →
I've been doing the grocery shopping at my place for awhile now. An arrangement that came about when 'the management' (as I sometimes call her) grew weary of me carping about the monthly food bill. So I take her’ double-dog dare’ to”… see if you can do any better, Buster” And of course, the way these kind of things always go, I couldn't. But I did learn a few things... Roger's Fine Foods (not it's real name) is one of those bigger box national grocery stores located in close proximity to Atlanta's Little Five Points area. Roger's prices were as good as anybod Read on →
"Where is the Love?" Kristof asks in his Thanksgiving column for the New York Times. Thanksgiving is a euphemistic feast. I still haven't found just the right term to describe cannibals bloodlessly and indirectly destroying and consuming their own kind. Some call it "sacrifice," but that too is a euphemism. "Symbolic predation" doesn't work because the injury and destruction are all too real. The culture of obedience preaches that less than lethal force is OK as long as there's an ulterior motive, better yet an ideological imperative. The culture of obedience inflicts force to impose peace. The U.S. is still destroying the village to Read on →
I looked over and the strange fact that Pamela Kheto was driving seemed perfectly normal, even though my sole contact with her in the last ten years was a brief meeting in a parking lot where she tried to recruit me for some kind of power-grab at her church. When I looked to the front I saw we were on rough terrain. I felt the bottom scraping on large boulders, finally hitting something huge that threatened to completely tie us up, the edge of a cliff actually, but our momentum carried us up and over, teetering on the edge a Read on →