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Remind Me…

Date February 17, 2010

So what’s so special about San Antonio? I ask this because lately I’ve been having a hard time coming up with reasons to stay here other than family and job–which do count for a lot.

Here’s my problem: I’ve lived in multiple cities in the state of Texas and in each I can remember something that people liked to say about their city. In one place it was the libraries and the support for the local theatrical productions. In another it was the free days to museums, zoos, and public events sponsored by the city. One city boasted about the number of playing fields available for youth sports. Yet another proudly supported a public health initiative. These were things that your neighbors would tell you–not the city visitor’s department. So what is it for San Antonio?

Why our founders weren’t thrilled with the idea of democracy

Date February 12, 2010

Blame the childish, ignorant American public—not politicians—for our political and economic crisis. – By Jacob Weisberg – Slate Magazine

At the root of this kind of self-contradiction is our historical, nationally characterological ambivalence about government. We want Washington and the states to fix all of our problems now. At the same time, we want government to shrink, spend less, and reduce our taxes. We dislike government in the abstract: According to CNN, 67 percent of people favor balancing the budget even when the country is in a recession or a war, which is madness. But we love government in the particular: Even larger majorities oppose the kind of spending cuts that would reduce projected deficits, let alone eliminate them. Nearly half the public wants to cancel the Obama stimulus, and a strong majority doesn’t want another round of it. But 80-plus percent of people want to extend unemployment benefits and to spend more money on roads and bridges. There’s another term for that stuff: more stimulus spending.

Republican Bipartisanship

Date February 9, 2010

Republican Bipartisanship = we want everything our way or we won’t talk.

The Washington Monthly

Republicans are effectively arguing that the only way to talk about the health care reform proposal is to ensure that there is no health care reform proposal. The plan that was crafted over months of debate, hearings, analysis, and scrutiny — the one endorsed by the American Medical Association, American Nurses Association, American Cancer Society, and the AARP — has to be thrown in the trash immediately or Republicans aren’t interested in having a conversation.

This was especially rich.

In their letter, Boehner and Cantor called on Obama to take reconciliation off the table as a “show good faith” to the GOP.

“Eliminating the possibility of reconciliation would represent an important show of good faith to Republicans and the American people,” the letter said.

I see. Republicans would be more willing to talk about health care reform if the president agrees in advance to give Republicans the opportunity to kill health care reform.

Tell you what, GOP. You take the filibuster off the table as a “show of good faith” and I’m sure Democrats would be willing to take reconciliation off the table as a “show of good faith.” What do you say?

Because we know our justice system in Texas is without flaw

Date January 20, 2010


She makes a mistake, public humiliation is the only punishment; his lawyers make a mistake and he’s executed–that sounds fair.

Texas court rules that Judge Sharon Keller should not lose her job | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News

SAN ANTONIO – A report from the ethics trial of embattled Texas Judge Sharon Keller says she should not lose her job for closing her court before a death-row inmate could file a final appeal.

But Berchelmann, who presided over Keller’s ethics trial in August, recommended that Keller receive no reprimand “beyond the public humiliation she has surely suffered.”

Talk about worst case scenario

Date January 14, 2010

Is Refusing Bed Rest a Crime? – Motherlode Blog – NYTimes.com

Arguments are under way today in the First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee, Fla., in the case of Samantha Burton, who was confined to her bed by a judge earlier this year because she was at risk for a miscarriage.

This has got to be the worst of both worlds. The government is making your health care decision for you without any consultation but I’m willing to bet the poor woman still gets a bill from the health insurance company. Funny how this is not being used as an example of the dangers of health care reform. Could it be because opponents of health care reform are okay with the government making decisions for people that they agree with?

Getting the government we deserve

Date December 29, 2009

Hutchison promises highway shakeup

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison on Tuesday offered a sweeping plan to overhaul transportation planning in Texas if she is elected governor, but stopped short of saying how she would pay for it.

My initial reaction was “of course she’s not going to say how she would pay for it” with a smirk on my face. But then I started thinking, can you imagine what would happen if she had actually said, “yes, I’m going to raise the gas tax by ten percent and make sure the all the money goes to transportation infrastructure.” How many people would get past the raising the gas taxes part?

People complain about politicians, pork, and special interests as if it has nothing to do with them personally. But it appears most of the electorate is interested only in hearing how the government will cut their taxes while making sure they get their share of pork. Everybody is against the stimulus package except for the part going to their region. They really don’t want to have to think about how we’re going to pay for our roads–they must believe in a tooth fairy for roads. So of course she isn’t going to say how she’s going to pay for it because that would assume a responsible, thinking, voting citizen shows up at the polls when it’s really just a “tax-payer” who wants to make sure he gets his “fair” share of government spending (not pork) and avoids paying for anything he doesn’t personally use (pork).

How to pay for roads

Date December 28, 2009

Miles-traveled tax being scrutinized

If you don’t like gasoline taxes, here’s an alternative: a tax on the number of miles you drive in a year.

Delisi said the vehicle-miles-traveled tax idea is “controversial” but should be discussed because revenue from the state’s main source of transportation funding, the motor fuels tax, is declining. The gasoline tax hasn’t been raised since 1991.

If they through in something to account for vehicle weight, I think this idea has a lot of merit. Of course, making sure the money is spent where it’s supposed to will help the situation as well.

For those who argue that it will reduce the incentive to buy fuel efficient cars–you may not save on the tax but you’ll still save on the cost of gas which is still going to cost you more than the tax. Besides, are you saying all electric cars shouldn’t have to pay to help maintain the roads? Adding weight to the equation will help spread the cost more equitably based on who contributes the most to the wear and tear on the roads.

And as for how to do it? I can see there are some issues to be worked out. However, calculating mileage doesn’t seem to stand in the way taking IRS business deductions for mileage so I imagine we can work out the details.

Of course based on the comments on the article, this is just another nefarious government scheme designed to separate the hard-working, law-abiding citizen from his money. But none of them seem to have an answer as to how to maintain roads as more people use them while having to pay less in gas taxes. But with people like that, there is never a proposal that satisfies them because they know that someone, somewhere won’t be paying as much as them–the difference between a tax-payer and a citizen.

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Correcting Christianity’s Liberal Bias

Date December 27, 2009

Passions over ‘prosperity gospel’: Was Jesus wealthy? – CNN.com

They say that Jesus was never poor — and neither should his followers be. Their claim is embedded in the doctrine known as the prosperity gospel, which holds that God rewards the faithful with financial prosperity and spiritual gifts.

I’m sure it’s all part of the same conspiracy by liberals to make it look like Jesus would support progressive ideas.

Now why are the Republicans against this?

Date December 26, 2009

Great column from Paul Krugman.

Op-Ed Columnist – Tidings of Comfort – NYTimes.com

Indulge me while I tell you a story — a near-future version of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.” It begins with sad news: young Timothy Cratchit, a k a Tiny Tim, is sick. And his treatment will cost far more than his parents can pay out of pocket.

Fortunately, our story is set in 2014, and the Cratchits have health insurance. Not from their employer: Ebenezer Scrooge doesn’t do employee benefits. And just a few years earlier they wouldn’t have been able to buy insurance on their own because Tiny Tim has a pre-existing condition, and, anyway, the premiums would have been out of their reach.

But reform legislation enacted in 2010 banned insurance discrimination on the basis of medical history and also created a system of subsidies to help families pay for coverage. Even so, insurance doesn’t come cheap — but the Cratchits do have it, and they’re grateful. God bless us, everyone.

Perry is doing the state a real favor

Date March 13, 2009

Perry says no to part of stimulus money | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Dallas Business News

Gov. Rick Perry, joining a handful of his fellow Southern Republican leaders, said Thursday that he was rejecting $556 million in federal stimulus money for unemployed Texans because it had too many strings attached.

Remember all those people who voted to prevent lawsuit abuse and then were surprised when it applied to their "legitimate" lawsuits? What do you think they're going to say when they're laid off?

NCCP | Texas: Unemployment Insurance

Participants

Number of recipients

Number of first payments9

297,478 first payments (2006)

Benefit coverage

Recipiency rate10

19% (2006)

Spending

Total spending

Total spending on benefits (state)11

$1,106.1 million (2006)

Spending per recipient

Average weekly benefit11

$271/week (2006)

Average total benefit12

$3,718/benefit year (2006)

Replacement rate13

34.2% (2006)