Thursday, August 30, 2007

Makin' Book and More

If I were a betting man gal, I'd say Saturday (or late Friday evening), after everyone has hit the road for their weekend destinations, for the announcement of Craig's resignation. That'll give him a couple of dead news days for the smoke to dissipate.

Craig's denials just aren't credible. But then, that's not really news. His denials, especially the preemptive one, have never been credible. Craig has never been a particularly nice or honest man. One might even say he's been a bad, naughty, nasty boy. Before this latest brouhaha over his peccadillo in the men's restroom, I was going to take him to task for the fundamental dishonesty [much like Simpson's] displayed on his website. It seems kind of pointless now but what the heck.

Although his denial presser has moved them off the front page, he has "releases" where he blames the Democrats for the failure of congress to pass any legislation and, get this, for the lack of fiscal responsibility. Yes, two Republican administrations (Reagan and the current White House occupant) digging our country into a hole several trillions of dollars deep (Bush decimating trillons in surplus first) and Craig wants to lecture Democrats on fiscal responsibility. But what can you expect from a guy who blames a newspaper (especially one who has gone out of its way to fawn all over him) for his pleading guilty to extranecessaryTM restroom activities.

As an aside, credit where credit due. While I may disagree with a few, several,many, most of his positions, Sen. Crapo's website represents all we should expect from that of an elected official. It's informative and has clear statements of his positions, information on legislation he's working on, complete contact information (and an invitation to do so) and links to the congressional record so we can see how he is voting on our behalf. Thank you, senator.

Rep. Sali? There's really no point is there? He's just fundamentally* insane.

* double entendre [for Sali supporters -here you can look it up]

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Monday, August 27, 2007


In a manner of speaking anyway.

Republicans. Christians. Values [we'll take it at face value for the purposes of this rant] voters. The Bushes, Romneys, Crapos, and Salies create the Mark Foleys and Larry Craigs of the world. See, for whatever reason, they believe your tripe ... homosexuality is bad. Then when they're forced to hide and suppress their natural human emotions and urges they seek out the safety of strangers and anonymous assignations.

Yes, Democrats are significantly more accepting and that's why among their ranks they have Barney Frank, an openly gay congressman in a committed relationship living in that sinful state of Massachusetts where homosexual couples are allowed to wed. [It should be noted that MA has the lowest divorce rate in the U. S. -so much for destroying heterosexual marriage; the highest rate by far being in those christian values red states -go figure]

So, here's a clue people. No matter what your beliefs and your ignorance of biology tell you, you have as much choice in deciding your eye color as individuals have in "choosing" their sexual orientation and no amount of prayer is going to change that. [or change anything for that matter as studies have shown]

I know, I don't have any links to reference material tonight but I am just so sick of the pious and their continual obsession with controlling the lives of others that they can do their own searches and find the damn data themselves -it's readily available.[though that doesn't mean it's within their grasp]

Yes, starting tomorrow we'll hear their reactions (to something that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone with an IQ above 12 and not in religious denial) and on whatever bizarre scale they have of sin gradation, you can be sure that it won't be Craig's deceit, or the damage he's caused to others lives that will cause their disappointment and anger ... it'll be his homosexuality. It's bad. It may not be mentioned as often in the bible as greed or sloth but surely that's an oversight because it's even worse than murder. Abortions be damned but we'll have our death penalty. Can I get an amen?

Okay, I'm done now but I won't feel better until they keep their damn religion out of our government and laws. And read some friggin history books people - yes, Sali, that means you.

How about some Thomas Paine, you know one of the guys who actually fought for our freedom and without whom our little revolution would likely have failed. Yes, Tom Paine, the revolution, the constitution -an avowed atheist. And not the only one. There's a difference between being a nation of *christians which, by majority, we are now and a *christian nation which we were not and, hopefully, will never be. Amen.

*Don't comment to tell me I forgot to capitalize christian(s); if I thought it worthy of a capital I'd have given it one.

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He Said - He Said ... Right

What did I say? Can we now call him out for the amoral, hypocritical lying sack of human waste that is Larry Craig.

I know I should be more generous and humane as he is obviously a very troubled individual who, psychologically, cannot come to terms with his own homosexuality and were it not for the fact that his support for bigoted anti-gay measures adversely affects many other humans who don't seek to control the lives of others, maybe I could empathize with Mr. Craig.

Given his character, I have little doubt he will continue to attempt to lie his way out again. And what of our ace political reporter/columnist who took a leave of absence to investigate the senator based on previous reports of his homosexual activities - he couldn't even find an arrest report.

I don't want to hear any more from the Idaho Republican Party and their alleged values - legislate that two loving, committed people that admit their homosexuality cannot be united in marriage (which should be up to the given church) or civil unions but couples like the Craigs, no problem -they'll sanctify their charade.

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One Down

One less grossly incompetent, totally dishonest, morally bankrupt boob is gone. [yes, I could have just said Republican as it's been synonymous since about 1980]

Would that there weren't so many in line to replace him. Recess appointment anyone?

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Neat Trick

Ah, yes, private prisons.

So we take one private entity (who even by IDOC Reinke's admission is going to want a return on their investment) and Otter thinks they are going to build a prison and are going to be willing wait years before they even recoup those costs let alone make a profit and we're going to save money.

First, the annual costs of maintaining those prisoners is going to be more expensive than doing so in the state system - why?

Primarily because our correctional officers are paid a pittance here in Idaho even relative to other states correctional departments let alone private entities and secondly - did I mention return on investment? That is, profit.

And we wonder how trillions in surplus not only evaporated but plowed into the reverse depths of trillions in deficit. It's the math, stupid. Not their strong suit.

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A Healthy Discussion

Rep. Mike Simpson falls somewhere between disingenuous and downright deceitful in his representation of the house bill to re-authorize the State's Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

Aren't you tired of the bogeyman tactics; leaders are supposed to assuage fears not create or exacerbate them. Simpson goes for the double-whammy of scripted Republican scare tactics that have somehow become the norm in this country. He raises the dual specters of illegal aliens and socialized medicine to elicit knee-jerk reactions that work to his liking, rather than rational examinations which might bolster public opinion [even among Republican respondents1] on universal health care which, as indicated in nationwide polls2, is contrary to Mr. Simpson's position.

I call bullshit. As a citizen of Idaho and the U.S. - it's my job. It's our job. We don't get paid for it and it sure would be nice if there was a journalist, perhaps a political columnist, who got paid to keep tabs on these things for us but we clearly can't count on it. [I still have not been able to fathom how that man receives a paycheck for his worthless drivel - nice gig]

Back to Mr. Simpson. First he claims that this new bill "radically expands coverage to virtually anybody__including illegal aliens." Are you mad yet?[you're supposed to be]

Well, let's examine the actual bill, shall we?

No one, myself included, is going to wade through a 502-page document but let's just check out the highlights. Under the heading Subtitle D:Populations (as in, you know, populations of people that would be covered under the new bill) what do we find?

Here's a snapshot:

First, Sec. 131. Optional coverage of children up to age 21 under CHIP. [optional because what Mr. Simpson fails to inform you of is, as always was the case, the states determine eligibility - this does represent an increase if the state chooses to add this benefit because the original legislation covered individuals to age 19]

Second, Sec. 132. Optional coverage of legal immigrants under the Medicaid program and CHIP. [So, Rep. Simpson may not be disingenuous maybe he's merely illiterate]

Section 133 is immaterial to the discussion here and Section 134 I'll get back to in a minute.

Third, Sec. 135. No Federal [sic] funding for illegal aliens.[hard to miss that one - what do ya' say, Mikey?]

Fourth, Sec. 136. Auditing requirement to enforce citizenships restrictions on eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP benefits.

Admittedly, I'm not a lawyer but that seems to indicate there are eligibility restrictions based on citizenship and there's going to be some requirement [i.e., accountability - a term unfamiliar to the modern day Republican] to have audits to ensure no unnecessary funds are distributed. Sure enough, on page 68 we find the audits are necessary:
in order to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Secretary that Federal funds under this title or title XXI are not unlawfully spent for benefits for individuals who are not legal residents.

Now I don't know who else might be contained in Mr. Simpson's "virtually anybody" that this bill purportedly was expanded to cover but it, apparently, does not include illegal aliens.

I'll skip over his other inflammatory language about increasing border security instead of spending billions of dollars on benefits to these illegal aliens that, well, they're not actually going to receive because, frankly, there's only so much time. As I said, I don't get paid for this and there's only so much one can review in a couple of hours on a Sunday evening and there are a few other issues I'd like to address.

Next, he's aghast that adults will be covered. Well actually, more adults, as adults have already been covered. In various keyword searches of the bill I didn't find anything about eligibility requirements (for adults) let alone changes in those requirements. I suspect the reason is, as previously mentioned, the states (even in the original bill) were given great latitude in defining those parameters of the program.

Everything I read in this document indicates that federal expenditures are based on state population data of children under the age of 19. This is where (I think) section 134 may be relevant, which states, briefly, that states cannot exercise waivers to cover individuals other than low-income children or pregnant women unless, basically, the state can demonstrate that all the eligible children in the state are already covered (p. 67).

This would appear to be an added restriction on waivers that states have already been able to apply for under the initial legislation. Doesn't sound like expansion to me but if it is, it's exercised at the state level. So, if he wants to take issue with the states or address the loophole that was apparently in the original bill, then by all means ...

Next he plays with numbers, using the most egregious example of children from a family making over $82,000 a year being eligible. Are you outraged? [you're supposed to be] Is it true?

Again, in the actual bill (on p 67 -where is defines all the things that must happen before a state can allow for individual other than children or pregnant women to be covered) it refers to:
... targeted low-income children in families with incomes less than 200 percent of the poverty line.
Given the federal poverty guidelines (for the 48 contiguous states and DC) list an income for a family of 8 as $34,570 with $3,480 added for each additional child, Mr. Simpson's example would represent a family with 9.9 children making his $82,000.

I think we can all agree that wouldn't represent either the norm or a wealthy family as he intimates.

Granted some state programs kick in at other levels. For example, in Maryland families are eligible up to 400% poverty. However, families in the 200-400% range must pay a premium to participate in the program.

To suggest that Mr. Simpson's example is a little misleading would be a gross understatement. [link for data]

Finally, well as far as what I'm going to touch on tonight anyway, he talks about the Democratic bill being "devious" and "underhanded" with a "stealth provision" to ... [yes, you guessed it, I was wrong it wasn't a dual specter but a full on triple threat] raise taxes. [You'd think the Republicans could at least come up with a new meme]

The taxes would consist of a 45 cent cigarette tax [do we really need to go over the topic of the health care expense smoker's represent again?] and a $2 per person [that's annually] health insurance tax to fund research into cost-effective medical treatments.[now that's seriously scary; link to data].

Rep. Simpson states:
"If Democrats want to implement a national healthcare system, then Congress should have that debate, openly and publicly. "
If this hit piece is any indication of his idea of an honest and open debate, you can expect this won't be the last time I'll be calling out -bullshit, Mr. Simpson.

It's sad when we can't take our elected officials at their word and, unfortunately, it's not a new phenomenon. Ask yourself about possible other motivations the politician/candidate may have for a given position. Frankly, I was surprised to learn that 70% of Mr. Simpson's campaign contributions last election cycle came from Political Action Committees (PACs; interest groups) with the healthcare sector being his second largest donor.

Here's another clue, if the rhetoric appears designed to evoke emotion rather than thought and they don't provide any data to back up their assertions - call them on it. I intend to.

Perhaps a new campaign slogan is in order for Mr. Simpson:
Simpson for Congress '08: More Hyberbole, Less Fact

Kind of catchy don't you think?

1In a poll conducted by GOP consultant, Tony Fabrizio, 51% of the Republicans responded that universal healthcare coverage should be the right of every American.

2In a NYTs/CBS poll form February of this year 64% thought the federal government should guarantee health care insurance for all Americans; only 27% thought it wasn't the role of the federal government [tantalizingly close to the percentage of Bush support].

For more information on SCHIP go here.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sunday Special: Let's Be Frank

First, if Larry Craig decides not to run for re-election, we know why. But it won't be because of any outstanding investigative reporting by a Statesman' journalist [the term could not be used more loosely]. At least Craig does his (alleged) fellating in the privacy of a men's room, while others do it on the pages of a newspaper [again, the whole loose definition]. Seriously, Mike Rogers' record in this area aside, if you don't think Larry Craig is a gay hypocritical man then your gaydar is in dire need of repair.

Second, Mr. Tibbs again. I'm sorry but I really cannot let this slide. The Boise City Council meets once a week, on Tuesdays. I know the math is hard but that's, at most, four times a month. But wait. It gets better. On only one of those Tuesdays each month -again, for clarification, that would be one day a month -that they meet during the day. You know during the hours that one might need to ... I don't know ... let's say, schedule a doctor's appointment. So Mr. Tibbs, are you honestly expecting Boiseans to believe that July 24th was the only available date for a doctor's appointment that you made in advance?

Third, Mitt Romney won the Iowa straw poll! Let's get real. Romney got 4,516 votes at a cost of ~$2,200/vote. That's on par with primary vote totals for candidates in each of Idaho's 35 legislative districts that have, let's say, a population of 40,000 people. [just to make it easy 1.4 million state population divided by 35 legislative districts] Except this is a statewide poll in a state with a population of ~3 million people. Only ~14,302 people bothered with the poll at all -so, 4,516 represents slightly less than one third of the votes cast (31.5%). Big. Deal.


Speaking of Hot Air

We sure hit the trifecta here in Idaho this week.

First we have the Toady Trio of Otter, Crapo and Craig whose collective ignorance of wildfire management and rancher-pandering were displayed as prominently as Pinocchio's proboscis when they trotted out their criticism of the handling of the Murphy Complex fire. Enough already. Haven't Iraq, Katrina and the obfuscation of any scientific analysis shown how disastrous it is to have Republican cronies or pols planning or implementing anything these days?

Then we have whack job My God is Better than Your God Sali showing his complete ignorance of history claiming that religious diversity and changes brought about as a result of it are bad "for the longevity of this country" and couldn't possibly have been envisioned by our forefathers. Except they were. While you (Bill) may pledge allegiance under God, our forefathers did not; neither did their money bear the words In God We Trust and oaths were not made to God.

They wanted freedom from religious persecution and for religious expression (or the right to not have religious belief at all -hence the ban of any religious test for office).

It's a good thing we ran off those white supremacists, we wouldn't want anyone thinking we were a state of bigots - it's not as though we'd elect them or pass discriminatory constitutional amendments. Yes, multiculturalism is bad. Sieg Heil, Sali! [there's got to be a song in that somewhere - later]

Finally (well, thirdly, as it won't be the end of their lunacy) we have they call me Mr. Tibbs. Who after having been rightfully rebuked [from the Statesman no less] for the bogus complaint he filed against Beiter (to the ethics committee created by this mayor) comes back for more as he whines that "I was not advised by council leadership to stay for any significant issues".

Shorter Tibbs: Nobody told me what to do; make me the leader.

Oh yeah, the complaint was unanimously rejected by the ethics panel.


Morning Visitation

One of the things I enjoy about living here in Boise (in addition to the great weather1) [I know, who adds footnotes to their blog posts] are the hot air balloon appearances between 7 2 weekend mornings throughout the summer. In recent years we've had two emergency landings in our subdivision one in which my neighbor was rudely awakened when a balloon grazed her roof before landing one street over. No damage to either (home or balloon) and the chasers had the balloon packed up before many neighbors were even out and about.

Certainly, hot air balloons are not unique to Boise but they do add to the eclectic character of the city that has a quaint downtown, a Romney temple or car dealership on alternating corners, a wonderful outdoor amphitheater for Shakespeare, a Ten Commandments monument (no longer in the park -but I won't go there) and in the midst of it all -a stray llama or two (or three).

This past week I was driving over to a friend's place in the Collister neighborhood and here was this guy walking down the street with three llamas in tow as though they were just out for their afternoon constitutional. Just one of the things, along with the hot air balloons, that evokes a spontaneous smile. No scotch necessary, but caffeine? Am I breathing? Sometimes methinks if this city were a person it'd be schizophrenic.

1 Although if this past July represents a global warming trend our wonderful banana belt will soon be gone and we'll just be Arizona North.

2 Phraseology borrowed from a long-time apunctual3 [how about that - a footnote-appended footnote] friend to indicate about when we'd meet up but allowing for an hour or so margin of error on either side.

3 Apparently I've created a new word but I rather like it and it is my blog. Apunctual: The new truthiness.