Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Congressional Black Caucus member steers scholarship money to relatives

Controversies continue to dog members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).  First was former Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangle (D-NY).  Next was Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA).  This time the controversy relates to more than $25,000 of  scholarship money from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) to relatives of a member of the CBC and a staffer.  

According to the Dallas Morning Star relatives of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and the children of her aid, Rod Givens, received CBCF scholarship money from 2005 to 2008.  This only came to light when a list of 2009 scholarship recipients was released by the CBCF on Monday.  Relatives of Congressional Black Caucus members and their staffs are ineligible to receive scholarship money from the CBCF. 

Here is CNN's Anderson Cooper interview with Muriel Cooper, a representative of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation: 

This is troubling in so many ways.  At a time when Democrats are facing likelihood of massive losses during the 2010 Mid-Term Elections relating to the stagnating economy and stubbornly high unemployment, ethics issues are adding to the growing list of reasons for returning control of Congress to the Republicans.  During the 2006 Mid-Term Elections, Democrats used the same issue to their advantage as they regained control of both Chambers of Congress for the first time since 1994. 

Then Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi famously stated that Democrats were going to "drain the swamp" of corrupt Republican members.  Will the GOP make the same promise of Democrats? 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

5th District Tea Party Candidate heavily in debt due to medical expenses

If there is any better example of why comprehensive Health Care Reform was needed, 5th Congressional District candidate and Tea Party Activist Jeff Clark is it.  One problem,... Clark didn't support it.  And as far as anyone can tell, neither Clark or Republican candidate Robert Hurt have said what would be better.  Click here for the News Advance story. 

While being in debt resulting from serious health care issues is not uncommon, debts relating to failure to pay for car repairs from an accident, non-payment of taxes, and library fines might seem nit-picky but they start to catch up to a person with an established record of bad credit.  Makes any argument about out-of-control government spending meaningless coming from someone who has a problem practicing what they preach. 

At this point Clark would be lucky to get above 5%, thus making him a non-factor in the 5th Congressional District race. 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

DCCC starts to triage House races

Time is growing nigh and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has put out the word to its candidates to make their case, show how they're going to win in November, or they're pulling the plug on money and support. 

"At the end of the day, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will look at races we can win,” said DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen, as reported in Politico yesterday. 

As with all political campaigns, the closer Election Day approaches idealism takes a back seat to the realities of cold hard cash and fundraising.  Even with ample cash reserves, campaigns that don't have an idea how they're going to win will find themselves on the other side of the door, noses pressed against the glass, without access to DCCC staff, resources, and most importantly the chance for a DCCC Independent Expenditure to bolster their own paid media efforts with third party attack ads.

With 67 days left until November 2nd, Van Hollen's looking at the political calculus on competitive House races and realizing the margin between retaining the majority and slipping back into the minority is getting very thin.  Striking a tone of optimism, Van Hollen remains confident Democrats will retain their House majority. 

The DCCC has done a better job of raising money during a down year for Democrats than the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), having a cash advantage of $14 million over their rivals.  But this is still not alleviating growing concerns from withing Democratic circles, as Politico reported earlier in the week

Evidence of this is showing up on the campaign trail, where many of the endangered incumbents are starting to openly distance themselves from Democratic House Leadership and the Obama Administration.  In Virginia, nine term Congressman Rick Boucher hasn't once invoked Obama's name in any campaign ads, opting for the "I'm from here, I'm one of you" campaign themes.

Freshman Congressman Tom Perriello, behind in every public and internal poll, is openly calling for the resignation of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner while at a local Tea Party meeting.  Earlier in the year, Perriello described Geithner "as a clone of Bush Administration Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

In the case of Boucher, Perriello, and other Democratic House incumbents with huge cash advantages over their Republican opponents, the question remains will it be enough down the stretch? 

Image found at:  http://www.gamersace.com/images/PC-Combat-Medic.jpg

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Great Recession good for drop in U.S. energy consumption in 2009

Never let a crisis go to waste.  At least the United States wasted less energy last year, and significantly increased it's use of renewable energy sources (specifically wind energy).  Too bad it wasn't an enlightened response to a long overdue change in our consumer mentality, but I'll take an economy related behavioral change. 

How much did we reduce our overall energy consumption?  We went from 99.2 quadrillion BTUs in 2008 (British Thermal Units) to around 94.6 quadrillion BTUs in 2009.  That comes out to a drop of about 5%.  According to the article from CNN, "to put that in perspective, the average room air conditioner uses about 10,000 BTUs." 

It appears that the renewable energy incentives Democrats and the Obama Administration pushed for, are working.  This also means that with this reduction in energy consumption (primarily of fossil fuel use), it also means we emitted less carbon dioxide.  Positive steps, but still a long way to go in order to effectively address our lack of a national energy policy. 

Let's see how the public utilities and energy companies respond.  Maybe they'll hold the line on rate increases or reduce them?  Probably not.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Former Bush Campaign Manager and RNC Chair Kennith Mehlman comes out

What else can be said, except WOW?!  Click here and here for the related stories. 

GOP establishment gets mixed results on Primary Night

What appeared to be a ho-hum line-up late season Primaries turned out to be quite dramatic in several.  Here's a quick look at some of them: 

The Republican Primary for US Senate went as expected with Marc Rubio winning by a wide margin.  In the Republican Primary for Governor, Rick Scott (former head of Columbia/HCA hospitals that paid a $1.7 billion fine for Medicare and Medicaid fraud) looked like he was fading fast heading into Tuesday, but pulled off the upset of GOP establishment candidate and Attorney General Bill McCollum. 

On the Democratic side, Florida state CFO Alex Sink won easily.  Some polls had McCollum ahead of Sink by 10 points, but with Scott the nominee, this is a totally different race and possibly a Democratic pick-up. 

The Democratic Primary for US Senate had Congressman Kendrick Meek beating out billionaire real estate investor Jeff Greene.  This sets up the anticipated three way Senate Race between Republican Marc Rubio, (former Republican turned Independent) Governor Charlie Crist, and Meek.  An interesting alternative story line to this race, this is the second Democratic Billionaire to go down to defeat during the 2010 Primary Season (Ned Lamont lost earlier in Connecticut). 


Arguably the most watched race of the evening was the Republican Senate Primary between John McCain and former Congressman J.D. Hayworth.  Hayworth was counting on low turnout and Tea Party anger to propel him to the upset, instead McCain pounded him.  

In Arizona's 3rd Congressional District, Ben Quayle (son of former Vice President Dan Quayle) won a crowded (10 candidates) and contentious Republican Primary.  The district is heavily Republican, but Ben Quayle hasn't exactly shown he's got the maturity to be in Congress (then again, he might fit in just fine). 


What appears to be the shocker of all the races, current Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is trailing Tea Party favorite and Sarah Palin endorsed candidate Joe Miller.  Miller is leading by just a few thousand votes, with absentee ballots still to be counted, which could take a couple of weeks. 

Sarah Palin 

Just when you thought she was gone, done, out for the count, Palin's streak of primary endorsement duds came to and end on Tuesday.  Everyone of her endorsed candidates won (or is leading). 

What does this mean? 

This was a mixed bag for Republicans and heading into November with the collection conservative and ultra-conservative candidates they now have, who knows.  The GOP will still make gains, but how many seats they pick up is still the question. 

GOP incumbents spent tens of millions of dollars to just get out of their primaries, like John McCain and Lisa Murkowski.  Others, like Rick Scott, spent heavily out of their own personal fortunes to get the nomination.  The questions here are will they be able to dig back into their own wallets and can they mend the fences they need with their GOP establishment to win in the General Election? 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

John Boehner, GOP going ALL IN with a recycled Agenda of Failure

I would really like to see the polling that GOP House Minority Leader John Boehner is seeing that indicates Americans have totally forgotten that their social and economic agenda drove this nation into a ditch.  Click here for Politico's coverage. 

What's even better, he is calling on the President to fire Treasury Secretary Geithner and Economic Advisor Larry Summers.  Two people, who have strong personalities and a measure of culpability for the 2007-2008 economic collapse, who know a whole lot more about economic policy than Boehner and Eric Cantor. 

The best line from Boehner's speech this morning: 
“It’s time to put grown-ups in charge,... I’ve also told my girls how I was raised to never accept the next best thing for myself or my country.”
Words to live by and good advice.  I'm just wondering who are the grown-ups Boehner's talking about?  If Boehner thinks the recycled GOP Economy Wrecking Agenda (that killed millions of American jobs) is better than the emergency measures the Obama Administration (lets not forget, with Republican support) and Democrats implemented, then he needs to check his cigarettes to see if someone switched his brand for something more exotic. 

Image found at:  http://www.usnews.com/dbimages/master/11483/FS_DA_090617boehner300.jpg

Monday, August 23, 2010

America's need for Audacious Leadership

Two stories, one from Politico and one from CNN, on what Obama needs to do in order for Democrats to hold on to their majorities in the House and Senate.  The message is pretty clear from both stories: 

1.  Tell us where we are going and how we get there as a nation. 
2.  Use the Bully Pulpit of the Oval Office.  
3.  Lead, Lead, Lead. 

If Obama does these things, Democrats will fair far better than people expect. 

As Don Baer, former Communications Director for the Clinton Administrations, tells Politico: 

"You have to provide the country with a narrative of where we have been and where we need to go and how to get there.  That requires a theory of the case on the role of government — and the role of the president." 
Obama has fallen into the same wonky, inarticulate policy muck that most Democrats get trapped by and spend too much time explaining.  Rather than doing what Republicans do (forcing you to explain the details as the crowd goes to sleep or gets folks banging their head on a table and yanking clumps of hair from wherever they can), Democrats hunker down in the bunker and wait for them to stop swinging.

Contrary to the CNN article, Obama needs to forget channeling Reagan and get and infusion of some "Teddy" Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman.  That ain't "No Drama" Obama's style, but its what people respond to.  So far, Americans are responding and reacting to ultra-Conservative demagoguery that is tearing this nation apart. 

President Obama, time for some Progressive "Pragmatic Righteousness" to confront and counter the Demagoguery and Righteous Bigotry.  Give us the Audacity of Leadership. 

Image found at:  http://www.africabusinesssource.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/barack_obama1.jpg

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fort Eustis soldiers told go to Christian Rock Concert or stay in their racks

With all the uproar around the proposed Islamic Center in lower Manhattan, it appears that religious freedom has come under attack again.  This time from within the United States Army. 

According to an Associated Press story on August 20, 2010, the Army is investigating if Fort Eustis soldiers who did not want to attend a Christian Rock concert on base were forced to stay in their barracks.  To read the full story click here

Those on the Evangelical Right vigorously advocate that this nation was founded on Christian principles and that this is a Christian nation.  I don't think it can be disputed that the people who came to this continent from Western Europe were predominantly of the Christian faith (Catholic and Protestant).  But, it also cannot be denied that the First Amendment and specifically the parts about Religious Freedom and the Separation of Church and State, were discussed, debated, argued just as strongly during the drafting of our Constitution. 

It is clear that our Founding Father didn't want one faith to have legal preference over another, and that in referring to "God" they went to great lengths to acknowledge the "Creator" of all mankind.  It cannot be denied that there is a strong connection to Christianity in our founding documents.  This is reflected by the men who had the greatest influence in their development.  But, it is also clear that in forming a Federal Republic, a nation based on the rule of law, that Enlightenment thinking was also woven into the fabric of the Constitution to protect and preserve the individual rights of man.  Specifically freedom of Religion, as advocated by Thomas Jefferson. 

When a person signs-up for military service in the United States, our men and women are not protected by all the laws they have sworn to "defend."  But, Religious Freedom and the free exercise thereof does apply to our brave men and women of the Armed Forces.  What kind of a military, and nation, would we be if the exception to the rule were the very citizens that have sworn to fight for Religious Freedom and all the other lliberties the United States Constitution affords us all? 

If this were just one or two, or even a just few more, then this could be chalked-up to soldiers gripping.  But out of a 200 soldiers, nearly 100 were confined to their barracks because they didn't want to attend a Christian Rock concert on base.  I hope the Army's investigation is unbiased and complete, and if these soldier's Constitutional Rights were violated then the offender(s) should be punished accordingly. 

Image found at:  http://www.citizensproject.dreamhosters.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/Church-State1.jpg

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

How may minority constituencies can the GOP alienate?

While President made the right call regarding the construction of the mosque and Islamic Cultural Center a few blocks away from Ground Zero (citing that if it conforms to the local building codes, ordinances, and laws, there is no reason why it shouldn't be built), his retreat from his statement, that he didn't say it was a wise decision for it to be build there, has opened the door for the GOP demagoguery once again. 

The Muslim population is not very large in the United States, but it does make up a sizable part of several communities in places like New York, Detroit, New Jersey, and Minneapolis.  The GOP was very conscience of reprisal and bigotry directed towards Muslims right after 9/11, and went to great lengths to embrace the Muslim community and show support for those that peacefully live in the United States.  Heading into the final months of an election year, you can add Muslims to the long list of minorities that the GOP proudly alienates. 

African Americans haven't been supporters of the GOP since passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.  Hispanics were once a major part of the GOP's conservative faith base and for it's position on Cuba.  This has now changed with their hard line, if not militant position, on boarder security and illegal immigration.  Now Muslim, who for all intents and purposes share many conservative positions with the GOP, are not from the right faith and are all painted with the same brush as the extremists who attacked the United States on 9/11. 

The potential benefit of introducing another wedge issue into an already contentious election season, that of radical Islam bent on destroying America, may very well come back to haunt them.  One of the few voices of reason in the GOP, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, is warning the rest of his fellow Republicans (and Democrats), stop using the mosque as a "political football" which is casting a pox on both political parties. 

At some point, distressed Americans will take stock of the cost of all the racial and identity politics and stop pointing the finger of blame.  When the dust settles, and if Republicans are back in control of Congress, the damage will be done and the short term gains made by GOP politics of divisiveness will further confine them to the place they've been heading for 20 years.  A regional party located in the Deep South. 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New AP-GfK Poll: Definitive shift of Independent support away from Democrats

Independents that delivered the overwhelming Democratic victory in November of 2008 to the tune of 52 percent, propelling them to control of the White House and both the House of Representatives and the Senate, only a third are supporting Democrats now.  This according to the latest Associated Press-GfK poll, where 32 percent of Independents support Democrats to keep control of Congress heading into the November Mid-Term elections.

The reason is clear.  Nine out of every ten independent voters surveyed saying that the economy is their number one issue.  The pain and frustration of a stagnating to faltering economic recovery and 9.5 percent unemployment (with the real number of unemployed and those who have given up on finding work much higher) is fueling the exodus of Democratic support.  The only bright spots in the survey are Healthcare, a 44 to 41 percent overall support of Democrats over Republicans, and the fact that this was a random national poll and not at a Congressional District level.

This means that the 2010 Mid-Term elections will come down to how each Republican matches up to each Democrats, how well they run their individual races, and the level of partisan intensity that will be the key to retention or defeat on Election Day.  Republican-Conservative intensity is way up this year.  Democrats are have to figure a way to change the narrative that refocuses the argument in favor of their continued control of Congress.  The only other thing that is helping Democrats, establishment Republicans have suffered more from insurgent Tea Party candidates who are much farther to the right of the conservative establishment Republicans and less politically savvy

AP-GfK Polls 

Friday, August 13, 2010

President Obama supports construction of Mosque near Groud Zero

This is the right call.  Freedom of Religion in America doesn't mean the freedom to only practice the Christian faith.  If anything, this is more of a poke in the eye to the Taliban that feeding into their propaganda of American hypocrisy and intolerance. 

This is what Jeffersonian Democracy looks like.  Religious tolerance is an American Value.  This mosque will be on private property and there's already one close to Ground Zero.  This is going to make the evangelicals crazy and fire up the Birthers.  Hang on to your hats! 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why is Robert Hurt afraid to Debate?

If Robert Hurt thinks the voters of the 5th Congressional District are just going to give him this seat without working for it, he's fooling himself. 

Media General News Service: Perriello, Clark debate without Hurt 

Hurt, quit sucking your thumb and debate all the Candidates on the ballot. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Calls growing louder to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire

The message is clear and the calls are growing louder from professional Economists.  Let The Bush Tax Cuts Expire.  Not only is this coming from former Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan, but others that generally favor tax cuts like former Reagan White House Budget Director David Stockman, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil (who was fired for opposing the Bush Tax Cuts in the first place) and former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. 

Now, each one of them is advocating different approaches and degrees of expiration, but the consensus is that the price is too high for these tax cuts to continue and the national debt needs to be addresses NOW. 

The White House, most Democrats and some Republicans are pushing and extension of the tax cuts for everyone making less than $250,000 a year and letting them expire for everyone else (which is the top 2%).  That would recover around $700 billion over the next 10 years

Greenspan and Stockman are pushing for the complete repeal of the whole tax cut, which are costing the nation $3.7 trillion over that same period.  Simply put, we can't afford them.  Here's Greenspan on Meet the Press: 

Rubin backs the White House position and is also suggesting bringing back the Estate Tax, stating he "would put an estate tax in place right now, immediately. I would increase the tax on the higher brackets."

O'Neil is advocating wholesale Tax Reform, because at the end of the day "it's still the same stupid tax system." 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

College becoming more of a luxury in Virginia

It's that time of year again when scores of kids head off to college.  From small colleges to major universities, friends and classmates will reconnect, socialize, and renew their efforts to earn that undergraduate degree.  The difference this year is that the price has gone up, making that piece of paper more of a luxury that only the rich can afford. 

Just as Virginia's transportation infrastructure continues to be underfunded, Higher Education continues in a similar trajectory.  As pointed out by Sunday's editorial in the Roanoke Times and the the August Report from the State Council for Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) on 2010-2011 Tuition and Fees, the cost of state supported Higher Education is rapidly becoming unaffordable for most Virginians. 

Not since the 1994-1995 academic year has Virginia's in-state colleges and universities been so expensive.  For five straight years Virginia has cut the budget for Higher Education, shifting more of the burden onto the shoulders of financially strapped families and students working their way through school.  Students will have to pay $838 more this year over last at a four year institution.  At Community Colleges, they will pay $504 more this lear than last for a full load of classes.  Sad to say but that's money that many people don't have since the economy is struggling to recover and millions continue to be unemployed.  The tragedy of it all, getting that undergraduate degree doesn't even guarantee the promise of a living standard that is near that of their parents, or better.

Conservatives continue the call for tax cuts and more cuts to state spending.  Just like the GOP's refusal to consider raising the gas tax at the state level to shore-up transportation funding, they refuse to consider any increase in Virginia's antiquated state income tax or the sales tax.  But, they will consider increasing fees for administrative services, driver's licenses, marriage licenses, hunting and fishing licenses, etc...

At some point, Conservatives will have to make a decision as to how important education is to Virginia.  Not just Higher Education, primary and secondary education too.  Virginia now ranks in the Top 10 in the country for the most expensive in-state tuition.

Conservatives proudly advocate for "personal responsibility" and the celebration of "American Individualism" while at the same time they work to change the rules or move the goal post, making it even harder for those on the receiving end of their scorn to achieve the lifstyle only a Republican can enjoy.  This pattern of inaction by Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly leads me to conclude that it's intentional and they only want a wealth social elite to benefit from a college level education. 

There was a time when higher education was affordable and our lawmakers recognized that if you make it affordable to as large a segment of our citizenry, this investment in people will reap massive benefits.  Because education is available to everyone at the primary and secondary level, and Higher Education has been relatively affordable, this better educated citizenry saw major increases in living standards and made us the most productive nation on the planet.  All of this is now in jeopardy, and we are now moving back to a place where not only wealth, but education, is going to be concentrated in the hands of a select few. 

Image found at:  http://i.acdn.us/image/A3457/345744/300_345744.jpg

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Elena Kegan confirmed as next Supreme Courty Justice

On a 63 to 37 vote, former United States Solicitor General and Supreme Court Nominee, Elena Kagan, will be the newest member of the United States Supreme Court.  While the ideological make-up will be relatively the same, this will mark the first time in the history of the United States no members of the High Court will have a Protestant faith affiliation. 

The only Democrat voting against her was Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska.  Republicans voting for her confirmation were both Senators from Maine, Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg, and Indiana Senator Richard "Dick" Lugar. 

You can see the complete vote breakdown here

Image found at:  http://www.prwatch.org/files/images/elena-kagan.jpg 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Law and Order Conservatives continue to give the business community a pass on illegal immigration

As November approaches "Law and Order" Conservatives continue to demonstrate they're not serious about illegal immigration.  Rather than take on the business community, who primarily bankrolls GOP political  operations, these same champions of "enforcing the laws that are on the books" prefer to focus that attention on immigrants who are here illegally. 

The most recent proof of this is Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli legal opinion for the proposed Virginia Rule of Law Act, which was requested by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R) Woodbridge.  Last week, an op-ed from 6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte called on the Congress and the President to enforce immigration laws so that states, like Arizona, wouldn't feel it necessary to take matters into their own hands and pass constitutionally questionable laws that clearly cross the boundaries of Federal-State jurisdiction. 

In every instance where the GOP talks about enforcing immigration law, they almost never mention enforcing the other aspects of the law by prosecuting businesses that hire illegal immigrants.  Hiring someone not here legally and eligible to work in the United States is ILLEGAL.  As conservatives like to say:  WHAT PART OF ILLEGAL DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND? 

If conservatives were serious about stemming the tide of illegal immigration into the United States, they would prosecute these businesses that hire illegal immigrants.  They would also support stiffer penalties for hiring people that are not eligible to work in this country.  The main reason why people south of the United States-Mexican boarder cross into this country illegally is because of ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

If there were no prospects for being hired to work in the United States, without going through the appropriate immigration and guest worker process, the flow of illegal immigration would dwindle to a trickle. 

One other thing that "patriotic" conservatives seem to ignore is that American businesses who hire illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from native born and legalized American Citizens.  In-sourcing or out-sourcing, what's the difference?  They're not hiring Americans for these jobs.  So maybe if we enforced all the laws relating to immigration, and even passed some that made it such a disincentive to hire illegal workers, then we could honestly address the illegal immigration issue. 

So, here's my idea.  Lets pass a state law that says if you hire illegal workers, your assets will be seized, the business will be shut down, and you will go to the same jails where the illegal immigrants are locked up.  They are building one around Farmville, VA.  I can almost guarantee that unemployment would drop and there would not be a constitutional challenge to the law.   But why should the GOP actually offer a real solution to the problem when they can have a divisive issue to run on that further polarize Americans and inflames racial bias?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Liberty University NOT among The Best 373 Colleges in America

Several colleges and universities in Virginia were among The Princeton Review's list of The Best 373 Colleges in America.  Liberty University was NOT one of them.  Those making the list from Virginia were UVA, VA Tech, JMU, George Mason, The College of William & Mary, Hampton University, Hollins, Randolph College, Lynchburg College, and Sweet Briar College. 

While there are some surprise omissions on the list from the Commonwealth of Virginia, like Washington and Lee, Mary Washington, Old Dominion and even VMI.  What is very interesting is that three colleges within 25 miles of Liberty University (Randolph College, Lynchburg College, and Sweet Briar College) made the list. 

For the complete list, click here.

In all fairness, LU was also missing from The Princeton Review's 2011 list of Top 10 Party Schools as well.  The honor of the #1 Party School in America went to The University of Georgia.  Other notable categories where LU lost out were: 

Most Conservative Students – Texas A&M University (what was The Princeton Review thinking?!!!)
Most Liberal Students – Hampshire College (LU dodged a bullet there...) 
Most Politically Active Students – American University  (If I were LU, I'd appeal.  LU GOTV RULES!) 
Least Religious Students – Sarah Lawrence College  (I'm seeing and LU Mission Trip in the future)
Happiest Students – Brown University  (Hey, didn't that kid who wrote the book about his semester at LU come from Brown?) 
Lots of Race/Class Interaction– University of Miami  (Andrew Breitbart would just love it at The U!)
LGBT-Friendly – Emerson College  (LU Intervention Mission trip?) 
Top Stone-Cold Sober Schools – Brigham Young University  (that's definitely the Liberty Way)
Best Town-Gown Relations – Clemson University  (Com'on!  Didn't they see the tape?) 

Oh well.  There's always next year.

Monday, August 2, 2010

GOP agenda coming into focus: Phase 1 - Cut off funding to Healthcare Reform

There are two things that you can say about the GOP without being wrong: They're predictable and consistent.  Realizing that the battle cry of "Repeal and Replace" will require more muscle than they can hope to muster, a new and more realistic campaign theme for the Mid-Term Elections is taking shape.  Choke off the funding to healthcare reform

Conservatives opposed to Healthcare Reform continue to proclaim that most Americans are opposed to the new reforms.  But on Thursday of last week (July 29, 2010), the Kaiser Family Foundation released a tracking poll indicating that support of the newly passed Healthcare Reform law is growing.  According to their findings: 
"The July Health Tracking Poll indicates overall public support for the health reform law is steady from June, while unfavorable views of the law have trended downward. Half the public (50%) now expresses a favorable view of the law, while 35 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion (down from 41% in June)." 
So, where does this Conservative belief that most Americans don't support the Healthcare Reform bill that was passed into law?  Well, it could be from this Fox News poll taken back in March, were 55% of respondents said they opposed the new reforms.  When comparing the numbers from the Fox News poll to the Kaiser Family Foundation poll, it appears there is a massive shift in support.  Keep in mind the terminology each uses to measure support. 

Fox News polls use definitive terms like "opposed" and "support", while Kaiser and other independent and non-partisan groups and foundations who poll on a regular basis use terms like "favorable" and "unfavorable."  The problem with polls that use definitive terminology and questions where you either have to answer yes or no, support or oppose, is it skews the poll and doesn't give an accurate picture of the complexity of the issues in question.  These types of polls tend to be used for propaganda, plain and simple. 

Some time ago, the GOP was pointing to a poll that said even most Democrats were opposed to the Healthcare Reforms passes in the House and Senate.  When you dug a little deeper into the numbers, the opposition from bluest of blue Democrats was that the reforms didn't go far enough.  Those were the ones that wanted a Single-Payer system rather than the one that is just starting to get implemented. 

This pathological obsession that Conservatives have with pushing misinformation is going to catch up to them.  The list of issues that Americans broadly support that the GOP has voted against is growing long: 
1.  Healthcare Reform
2.  Wall Street-Financial Reform
3.  Campaign Finance Reform  
4.  Small Business Loans 
5.  Tighter regulations on the Oil Industry (post BP) 
6.  Extending Unemployment Benefits 

Picture found at:  http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/02mM4W096v1cd/610x.jpg 
 There are likely more, but these are the most prominant or the latest.