Minority Report Card

No matter how you spin them, the latest  polls show that the Republicans have learned nothing from the past eight years. At least the views they are expressing are only shared by a minority of the citizens of the country. Which I suppose, really does make them the minority party…

Overall, 68 percent of poll respondents approve of Obama’s job performance, a finding that puts him on par with the average for the past eight presidents at this point in their tenures. Ninety percent of Democrats and 67 percent of independents approve of Obama’s performance. Sixty-four percent said they approve of how Obama is handling appointments to the Cabinet and other top positions in the administration, despite tax problems and stumbles that have led to three of his top nominees withdrawing from consideration.

Although Obama has encountered near-unanimous GOP opposition to his stimulus plan in Congress and widespread criticism for a housing bailout plan that some say rewards people who have been fiscally irresponsible, 64 percent of those polled back the economic recovery package, and the same percentage support the mortgage proposal. The broad support for the recovery package comes as just 10 percent said the bill was too heavy on spending and too light on tax cuts, the primary contention of the Republican leadership in Congress.

Overall, 60 percent of poll respondents approve of how Obama is dealing with the economy.*

Yet, in every television appearance, in every news conference, in every speech from the Hill, our Republican representatives tell us that what we see happening isn’t what we see happening. Do they really wonder at the elections outcome? In any stirring of the tea leaves do they foresee a change in their status in four years, eight years, even twelve years if they continue to go against the will of the majority of the people just to prove their “conservative principles”? The only conservative principles being shown these days are “DeLay-ing” tactics.

* via Obama’s Job Approval Ratings High, but Poll Finds Bipartisan Support Eroding – washingtonpost.com.

The State of Government in Texas…

While most of the Republican Governors rail against the stimulus, not many are willing to turn down their state’s share of the money in these tough times. Then we have Gov. Perry, the hand chosen replacement for George W. Bush…

Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday he’s not sure the state should accept all of its projected share of federal stimulus money — $16.9 billion and counting by preliminary estimates — because of the “mile-long” strings that might be attached.

“In Texas, we actually know it is a good idea to look a gift horse in the mouth. If we don’t, we may end up with an old nag,” said Perry, who has been critical of such federal spending and voiced concern over whether the state could afford federal strings.(1)

The strings attached might mean that the children in Texas get their fair share of CHIPS money. Or maybe, Texas will have to actually educate it’s children.

Texas has a long history (well at least through the last two occupants of the Governor’s Mansion) of leaving federal money on the table. Even as we were ranked in the bottom quintile of most of the quality of living statistics.

Texas politicians leave us Texans living in interesting times…Even before the economic Meltdown.

We need the freedom to pick and choose,” Perry told a group of small-business leaders in Austin. “We need the freedom to say, ‘no thanks’ if they’re trying to stick a bill on the people of the State of Texas just to expand government.(2)

Of course, Governor Perry isn’t alone in his disdain…

To be sure, not every Republican governor is on board with the stimulus. The Republican Governors Association “does not take an official position,” according to the group’s communications director Mike Schrimpf. But there are various members of the organization, he said, who have been critical of the recovery package. Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi called large portions of the stimulus “just crazy.”

And Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina, penned an op-ed Friday on the conservative site Human Events, questioning the efficacy of a “stimulus package approach[ing] $1 trillion… [H]ow will spending even more help?”

So the question now is, will these southern Governors turn down federal money in a declining economy? Time will tell…And elections will be the answer.

(1) via Gov. Perry says Texas may decline stimulus’ billions | Houston & Texas News | Chron.com – Houston Chronicle.

(2) via Perry draws line between good stimulus, bad stimulus | Postcards.

(3) via Obama Wins Stimulus Support From Republican Governors.

Pizza for Breakfast

Leave it to the Minimalist…Mark Bittman gives us polenta pizza…For breakfast

THERE are many reasons to rethink breakfast.

Maybe you’re trying to get more whole grains into your life, figuring they’re more beneficial (and cheaper) than the alternatives, or that they’ll help you lose weight or postpone hunger. Or you’re sick of sweet breakfasts. Trying to cut down on eggs. Looking for something new.

via The Minimalist – Whole-Grain Breakfasts – Your Morning Pizza – NYTimes.com.

Same subject…But on the Today Show…

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A Texas Republican and the Stimulus Plan

I have spent a half century in Texas. I watched this state go from Democrat to Republican. In just twenty years I have watched us go from Ann Richards to George Bush…From George Bush to Rick Perry. For the last decade Texas politicians have on a number of occasions made George W. Bush sound like a Rhodes  Scholar.

But the justifications for coming out against the President and the Congressional Democrats in the last couple of weeks are just lame…

“I support President Obama’s call for swift action to revive the nation’s economy and put Americans back to work. Unfortunately, this proposal fails on both accounts and instead relies on bloated Washington programs, digging our country deeper and deeper into debt, and passing the IOUs to our children and grandchildren. This is unacceptable.

“I am disappointed that what could have been a bipartisan success has resulted in a bill narrowly passed by the Senate with the support of only three Republicans. Overspending is what landed our nation in the economic turmoil we find ourselves in today, and the partisan spending bill passed by Senate Democrats only exacerbates this irresponsible behavior—increasing our nation’s debt limit by nearly two trillion dollars to $12.14 trillion.

So here we have a Texas Senator who voted against the stimulus because it would add 20% to the debt run up by a Republican Administration in just eight years…So we broke it, but we won’t vote to pay to fix it ’cause it’s just fiscally irresponsible…Gotta love the circular logic in that.

Then we have this reason from the Senator’s Press Release…

  • As written, the current legislation would create a new refundable tax credit called “Make America Work” that would be unavailable to individuals who earn $70,000 or married couples who earn $140,000 jointly.
  • Sen. Cornyn believes that tax relief should be provided to all taxpayers who pay income taxes.

So since I don’t qualify for a tax credit this year, and the good Senator doesn’t qualify, and the other 5% of American families don’t qualify…We shouldn’t do it? I am beginning to think that in the Republican world view, we are all just pawns to bail out the banking CEOs.

And come on Senator…Capital Gains Taxes.

Sen. Cornyn proposes expanding the current zero tax bracket for long-term capital gains to include individuals who make up to $75,000 and couples who make up to $150,000.

Exactly who will this help?

via United States Senator John Cornyn, Texas : For The Press.

What’s with Texas Republicans?

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) suggested last week that the party is learning from the disruptive tactics of the Taliban, and the GOP these days does have the bravado of an insurgent band that has pulled together after a big defeat to carry off a quick, if not particularly damaging, raid on the powers that be.

via Republicans See Long-Term Victory in Defeat on Stimulus Plan – washingtonpost.com.

Now, I thought I had pretty much heard everything growing up here in Texas…But to have a Republican happily quoted that he is taking lessons from the Taliban…That takes a Texas Republican.

Then we get my favorite Snetor…

“The president has done a good job reaching out to Republicans, and he has said he wants to approach this crisis . . . on a bipartisan basis. That’s good, and we’re willing to work with him on that. But this bill is not the president’s bipartisan plan,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said yesterday on “Fox News Sunday.”

Maybe someone should explain to me what exactly bipartisan is supposed to mean. ‘Cause it seems to me the Republicans seem to think it means more of the same or nothing…How has that worked for you folks in the last few years?

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DEREGULATION IS KILLING US

Jim Hightower has this one right…

Thank you, deregulation deities. Food corporations regularly run safety tests, but – here’s the cute part – they are not required to reveal the results to federal or state regulators. So, they don’t. It’s a shameful game of regulatory hide & seek.

Meanwhile, the inspection budgets and enforcement powers of health officials have also been sacrificed to the gods of deregulation, so the public has no effective control over America’s 65,000 food production plants. PCA’s Georgia factory, for example, has never been inspected by the feds. And while state officials have cited the plant many times for unsanitary conditions, there’s been no punishment imposed. Indeed, even after officials confirmed that this plant is the source of the current salmonella contamination, the corporation was declared free to restart production.

via Jim Hightower | DEREGULATION IS KILLING US.

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