10 March, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

News from the party of "fiscal responsibility:"

Let me get this straight: $650,000 for beaver management is outrageous, even if it helps prevent extensive property damage. $200,000 for a gang-tattoo-removal program is ridiculous, even if it helps prevent crime. $951,500 for the Oregon Solar Highway is absurd, even if it's a pilot program for a no-emissions alternative energy initiative.

But $1 million for a birthday party committee, honoring a president who died years ago, is the kind of spending that enjoys broad, bipartisan support.

The House voted Monday night to approve the creation of a panel to plan a celebration of the centennial of Ronald Reagan's birth in February of 2011.

Earmark opponent Jeff Flake and former presidential candidate Ron Paul were the only Republicans who did not vote in favor of the measure, which passed 371-19.

The 11 members of the Reagan Centennial Commission will not be compensated, but the Congressional Budget Office estimated last month that reimbursement for travel expenses and other associated administrative costs would bring the eventual price tag for the project to roughly $1 million.


Truth be told, I don't much care about the money for a Reagan birthday party. The misplaced hero worship strikes me as kind of silly, but predictable. I'm struck, though, by the context. Republican lawmakers can't scream "Pork!" loud enough, even on spending measures that make sense and save us money. But $1 million for a committee to plan a birthday party for someone who isn't even alive anymore strikes these same people as a great idea.

How much do you all want to bet we won't be seeing John McCain Twitter this one as "pork"? And we now have one more reason not to take these buffoons seriously when they whine and cry over how much the government is spending.

Speaking of McCain, you remember his rant against cricket control, right? That could end up biting Arizona in the ass if certain threats are acted upon:
Today, the earmark’s sponsor, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) explained his rationale in a tense interview with Fox News’s Megyn Kelly, who accused Bennett of abusing federal funds for pet projects. “Why is it an earmark to begin with?” she pressed. Bennett fired back at Kelly: “Okay, will you calm down for a minute?” The Utah senator then took a shot at McCain:

KELLY: The only debate I’ve heard is John McCain telling you that this is the sixth porkiest earmark he sees in the bill.

BENNETT: Well, that may be because the Mormon crickets only infest Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Maybe we ought to shoot some of them over the border into Arizona. But they go wherever they go. And again, the authorizing committee that examines these things is fully aware of it.

Too bad we couldn't restrict them to McCain's property. I'd love to see him dealing with a cricket infestation in return for his ridiculous grandstanding.

Speaking of ridiculous, who else finds it laughable that far right religious fuckwits are all shocked and dismayed that Obama is keeping campaign promises rather than bowing to their will?
I can appreciate why the right is angry that President Obama disagrees with conservative activists about culture-war issues. What I don't understand is why they're so surprised.

He called for reducing abortions and seeking common ground on one of the nation's most divisive issues -- promises that led some on the right to think maybe, just maybe, Barack Obama was a different kind of Democrat.

But no more.

A series of decisions in the past two months -- capped by an announcement Monday that he's abolishing Bush-era limits on embryonic stem cell research -- has led to a reassessment of Obama by some Christian conservative and other religious leaders, who now charge him with inflaming the very cultural divisions he once pledged to heal.

In fact, Obama's stem cell decision sparked a volley of rhetoric reminiscent of the height of the culture wars that defined American politics through the 1990s.

Fidelis president Brian Burch said, "It has really been a disappointment." Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, added, "If people are really listening and watching, they will see what President Obama said is not what he is doing."

I haven't the foggiest idea what these people are talking about.

Neither do I. Obama told them he'd listen to them. He said he wouldn't reject a good idea no matter who presents it. So, he listened, and he decided their ideas sucked. Therefore, he went with other ideas. Now the far-right freaks are fainting because they somehow misunderstood what "listening" entails.

Finally, what day would be complete without Michael Steele making an utter ass out of himself?

Late last month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Obama administration would be seeking to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004. “As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to reinstitute the ban on the sale of assault weapons,” Holder said.

RNC chair Michael Steele sent an e-mail to supporters yesterday criticizing the decision and claiming that it is “step one” in the Obama administration’s grand plan to repeal the 2nd Amendment:

The Obama Administration has revealed its intention to reinstate the so-called “assault” gun ban — Step One of their plan to repeal the 2nd Amendment.


Of course, Obama does not plan on repealing the 2nd Amendment. In fact, as FactCheck (and Holder) noted, Obama specifically stated during the campaign that he supports it. “Barack Obama believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms,” his campaign said.

But also, Steele’s criticism rings hollow as just two years ago, he stated his opposition to assault weapons, calling them “overkill“:

Q: Should people have access to buy assault weapons?

STEELE: Society should draw lines. What do you need an assault weapon for, if you’re going hunting? That’s overkill.

As Arlen Specter sez, "And National Chairman Steele, well he’s said so many contradictory things I wouldn’t pay a whole lot of attention to him."



RickU said...

I do have to take issue with the assault weapons ban. The ban was poorly written and the things get banned end up being mostly impact things that make guns look scary rather than have any real purpose.

I can (kind of) understand banning fully automatic weapons...but that's pretty much in place already isn't it?

Anonymous said...

So glad you took up the subject of the Reagan birthday celebration. You put it in exactly the right context--they gripe about paying lesser amounts for programs that actually are demonstrated to do some good, but imagine what would happen if liberals suggested cutting the RR worship hour -- sounds like an earmark to me.

Then again, if you cast it as an anti-depression program for Republicans, and bury it in an overall mental health stimulus....