Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Random News Bits 8/2/09

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First of all, I can hardly believe it’s August already.  What’s happened to 2009?

Onto more substantial stuff.  There are a number of items in today’s Denver Post that I wanted to bring attention to.  In “Summer of service, travel for the Obama girls” (by way of the NYT), we get a small glimpse into the lives of the President’s family.  The family has included history lessons and community service context during their travels in the past two months.  I applaud Barack and Michelle for trying to raise their children correctly in a very bright public light.  I do remember the exploits of the Bush twins.  They too traveled the world, but there was underage drinking, massive parties where drug use was reported and more than a few over-worked, under-staffed embassies that were transformed into horribly expensive babysitting services for the girls.  Having adults in the White House is a refreshing change.

The NYT writer/editor couldn’t resist using the tortured “some critics say” opener for sour-puss Sen. Chuck Grassley:

Some critics say the Obamas’ far-flung family travels are inappropriate at a time of recession. Last month, Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, said the president had some “nerve” to be sightseeing in Paris while insisting that Congress should focus on overhauling health care.

Hey, Chuck?  Drop the cheap talking points.  You have no interest in actually working with any Democrats on reforming health care.  You’re obstructing progress, will only allow health insurance “reform” and burnishing your “bipartisanship” credentials – which are worthless.

Here’s the stupidest thing I’ve read in a while (and that’s saying something, considering all the b.s. the Cons trot out on a daily basis).  The conservative editorial board of the Post advises that:

Schools also need to continue or bolster their health education programs — even with declining budgets and accountability standards to worry about. And there must be time for recess.

So on top of everything else, schools are somehow supposed to teach kids about how to live a healthier life?  How exactly should this be achieved in an environment of those declining budgets the board acknowledges?  Two aspects of this really bug me.  The Post’s editorial board is constantly calling for less government intrusion into personal lives.  This advice is completely contrary to that oft-stated stance.

And the editorial board must be completely lacking in understanding what irony is.  That advice came in a piece calling for more personal responsibility.  Or maybe the piece was really about laying the blame of our dysfunctional health care system at the feet of obese people who drive up costs.  Yup, insurance corporations have no responsibility for either phenomenon.  Neither do fast food corporations, who sell junk food that’s cheaper than healthy food.  Guess which demographic has the biggest problems with obesity?  That’s correct: the poor.  Sheesh.

Speaking of irony or perhaps just not paying attention to what was just written, right-winger extraordinaire John Andrews penned a piece in today’s Post.  See if this makes sense to you:

Can Dems really believe picking our pockets is the right remedy in hard times?

Annual car registrations would be capped at $10, vehicle ownership and sales taxes would phase down, state income tax would drop from 4.63 percent to 4.5 percent with further cuts in fat economic times, and telecom taxes of all sorts would end. Colorado Tax Reform is the sponsoring group. I was an early signer.

So is Andrews against taxes in recessions or against taxes in good economic times?  The answer is all of the above!  Andrews and other tax-ideologues think they’re against taxes all the time.  Basic economic theory dictates that governments should collect more taxes at some point in economic cycles.  That’s why Andrews isn’t an economist.  He’s foolishly anti-taxes.

Or is he?  Let’s think this through.  He’s also foolishly anti-schools, anti-bridges and anti-roads.  Extending that a little further, he’s anti-clean water, anti-police, anti-firefighter, anti-clean air, etc.  Taxes are investments in our communities.  But I seriously doubt Andrews is really anti-tax.  If he were, he would remove himself from any developed portion of America and truly go it alone.  He wouldn’t drive on any road that the government paid for with tax dollars.  He wouldn’t drink clean water provided by any municipality.  He wouldn’t draw power from any large-scale utility corporation – they receive billions in dollars in corporate welfare that comes from … you guessed it, our tax dollars.  He wouldn’t accept help from any police or firefighters since they’re funded with taxes.  He wouldn’t support anything the military does since they’re funded with taxes.

So no, Andrews isn’t truly anti-tax.  He just doesn’t want everybody to enjoy the same services and protections he himself enjoys.  Andrews is a sniveling snob – one who employs tired talking points to rail against anything government does.  He doesn’t come up with useful suggestions that would move this country forward.  He only criticizes.  The unfortunate part is, he has too many ways to spread his hate-filled message.

Remember all the times that defenders of Detroit’s back-assward decisions to sell high-profit gas guzzlers kept trying to convince the rest of us that nobody wanted fuel efficient vehicles?  Yeah, that was funny.  The cash for clunkers program basically ran out of $1 billion in less than one week.  Too bad there’s no demand for efficient cars, eh?

I recommend this piece about what happens to ranchers when oil and gas booms go bust.  Hint: even though the corporations promised the boom would last 50, 70 or even 100 years, the ranchers are left picking up the dirty pieces after only a handful of years.  Unemployment and disturbed landscapes are all the dirty fuel industry ever leaves behind.

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