Saturday, October 19, 2013

Conflict of interest? What conflict of interest?

Republican Ken Cuccinelli is running for Governor of Virginia, and it doesn’t look good for him. As of last week, he was trailing his Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe by eight points, and that deficit has been steadily increasing. 

You could argue that the good people of Virginia don’t agree that criminalizing sodomy (including for heterosexual couples) should be a top priority. Perhaps they likewise don’t think that God should punish the U.S. for allowing abortion, or that Obamacare should be repealed. They may not want a leader who doesn't accept the science on climate change or one who is against equal rights. And of course, there is the whole Virginia gift scandal, aka bribery problem. But for whatever the reason, Cuccinelli doesn’t look like he’s going to come out on top.

But don't despair, there is one way Cuccinelli could salvage the election, and that is to make sure that as few people as possible cast a vote. Cue the voter suppression. Over the past week, the Republican controlled state Board of Elections has rushed to purge nearly 40,000 voters from the rolls. 

Naturally, the Democrats are fighting this, though without much success. They’ve already lost one court challenge to restore all the purged names to the voter rolls, and the election is only a few weeks away. 

So, who was in charge of defending the disenfranchisement of 40,000 Virginians? Why, that would be the job of the Virginia Attorney General. You may have heard of him. 

His name is Ken Cuccinelli.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Do you believe in paying your bills?

Do you believe in paying your bills? I'm not asking whether you tend to be frugal or lavish with your money. I'm also not asking what kinds of things you think are worth buying. I'm just asking, after you've agreed to buy something, do you think you should have to pay for it?

Well, if you said yes, you agree with me and with the majority of other Americans. Unfortunately, many members of Congress simply don't agree. They are now mourning the fact that they didn't get to turn the United States of America into a country of deadbeats.

So who are these people?

In the Senate, 81/100 people voted to reopen government and pay the bills we already owe. Every Democratic or Independent Senator voted yes.

Eighteen Republicans thought defaulting on our loans and telling the entire world that we're a bunch of losers who can't be trusted would have been just great. One Republican wasn't sure and did not vote.

How about the House? 

There, the bill to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling passed 285 to 144. Who were those 144 people who emphatically stated 'hell no, we don't believe in fiscal responsibility!'  I'll give you a hint. Like in the Senate, all the Democrats voted yes. 

Yup, 144 Republicans voted no, which means that 60% of the Republicans elected to Congress shouldn't be trusted to buy used cars.

Because let's face it, what's less fiscally responsible than refusing to pay your bills?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Why should I be mad about the government shutdown?

Why should I be mad that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is in charge of monitoring oil transportation, is shut down? I don’t live near the 16,000 gallon oil spill in Oklahoma
or the 210,00 gallon oil spill in Arkansas 
or the 840,000 gallon spill in North Dakota 
or any of the other spills that occurred this year.

Why should I be mad that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is shut down? Not only do I not live near any oil spills, I also don’t live near any of the 500 toxic waste sites that are no longer getting cleaned.

Why should I be mad that the Veteran's Administration can no longer offer survivor benefits to the family members of people killed in action? I don’t have any family members fighting abroad.

Why should I care if the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are drained? I'm not trying to get into any clinical trials.

Why should I be mad that the Department of the Interior, which maintains the National Parks is closed? I’ve already been to Yellowstone. And Yosemite.

Why should I be mad that supplemental nutrition for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is suspended? I'm not trying to feed children on a minimum wage salary.

Why should I care if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food inspectors are furloughed? I've never been one of the 48 million Americans who are sickened each year by food-borne illnesses.

Why should I care if the Consumer Product Safety Commission is crippled? I don’t need any toys or car seats.

Why should I care if the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is shut down? I don’t live in Tornado Alley or the hurricane prone regions of the country.

Why should I be mad that the National Science Foundation is closed? Other countries will still be able to make medical and technological advances.

Why should I be care if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is shut down? I've never had a problem with a nuclear reactor.

Why should I care if the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is shut down? I don’t need to climb any ladders at work.

Why should I care if the Department of Homeland Security is shut down? Or the Department of Justice? Or the Department of Labor? Or NASA? Or any of the dozens of other government agencies that the Republicans have taken from us?

Because I have two things they lack: empathy and forethought. The Republicans who caused this totally unnecessary debacle should try them sometime.