In 1281 medieval Japan was spared a Mongolian invasion thanks to a massive typhoon that swept across Kyushu Island, thereby destroying the invading fleet and drowning the Mongolian warriors. The storm was deemed a divine wind or kamikaze, sent by the gods to save the Japanese. In the waning days of the Second World War, Imperial Japan would invoke the legacy of the 1281 typhoon in an attempt to forestall defeat in the Pacific by crashing wave upon wave of kamikazes into allied invasion fleets as they made their way toward the Japanese home islands. Today an ideologically challenged G.O.P. is failing in its effort to forestall the current administration’s recovery plan. Many commentators on the right have chosen to meet the new political reality with waves of virtual kamikaze attacks through all manner of media. The recent New York Post comic portraying a monkey shot by two policemen and insinuating that the monkey is Barack Obama is the latest, and most tasteless, example of the Right’s desperation. Lead by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Phyllis Schlafly and even the venerable Tony Blankley and Pat Buchanan, the public has been bombarded with dire warnings [...]
In the weeks leading up to the 2008 elections, while conservative radio and television talk show hosts were hoping beyond hope for some narrowing of the gap between McCain and Obama, more serious conservative thinkers were arguing that a return to the political “wilderness” could do the Republican Party a world of good in helping to chart a new path to future electoral success. In the months that have elapsed since the election of Barack Obama I have monitored all manner of editorials and opinion pieces on the right. For the most part the post mortems revolve around whether the Republican Party should move further to the right or whether it should embark on some degree of ideological reform so as to reach out to Hispanics, Blacks and the working class in an effort to broaden its’ political appeal. The majority of opinion favors a “return to the principles of Ronald Reagan”. There has been a wholesale rejection of the Bush Administration and the candidacy of John McCain as representing a self-defeating deviation from the core principles of the Reagan years. Absent from the discussion is the question of to what extent are the essential principles of the Republican Party [...]
Historically there are two types of elections in this country, changes in speed or in direction. The election of Barack Obama is unquestionably of the latter and with it comes an inherent change toward a more progressive political climate. His inaugural address signaled the end of the era of Reagan as well as that of the Clintons as the driving force within the Democratic Party. But within this historical realignment there are daunting challenges facing both parties. A key challenge for the Democrats is to avoid falling back into the bad old habit of throwing money at social problems without adequate examination of those problems or insuring intelligent oversight so as to avoid fiscal waste. Likewise, there is the age-old temptation to create voter allegiance tied to steady streams of government largesse. Already the stimulus plan has more than a few questionable spending proposals that will do little to create economic activity but will certainly increase government spending. If these items have been included as bargaining chips that can be traded off for real simulative measures in the final legislation that is one thing, anything else is unacceptable. Democrats should not fool themselves into thinking that the failed Bush Administration [...]
What do you expect from people who hate America? This was front paged by Eabo.
Here is the link. I am quite impressed with, say, what the Mayor of Brockton has in the stimulus pipeline – but as this is but a brief break during the work day for me, I look forward to what you all find here: http://www.stimuluswatch.org/
The deficit problem is the entitlement problem. Solving that means getting Medicare spending increases under control. But Medicare simply reflects one of the major flaws in our economy at large: full-out nutty health care inflation. Although many folks, especially “moderates” and conservatives, have been primed — even downright eager — to think that this means that old folks and poor folks should be made to feel more pain. This Is Not So. And many progressives will take that bait, especially in the aftermath of the attempted raid on Social Security on ’05; they will see any attempt at reform as an attempt to abolish. (You can already see this sentiment brewing on DailyKos.) In fact, we spend too much on health care, and we can almost certainly have much, much better care with the money we’re already spending. But this means confronting vast, extremely well-financed and powerful special interests (PhRMA, device makers, hospitals, provider groups, specialist groups, etc. etc. etc.), and telling them that the pie may be getting smaller for them. We’ll have to introduce real comparative effectiveness research for drugs, devices, procedures … even providers themselves. Many of these folks have been doing just fine with health care [...]
Thank you Secretary Aloisi for your response to questions related to the details of the CMT chip proposed by the governor last week. You response in full was as follows: When I considered recommending a VMT pilot, I looked to what Oregon is doing in this area. With specific respect to privacy, the Oregon DOT reports that their program is designed to protect against accidental or intentional invasion of privacy. From the ODOT report: “The concept requires no transmission of vehicle travel locations, either in ‘real time’ or of travel history. Accordingly, no travel location points are stored within the vehicle or transmitted elsewhere. Thus there can be no tracking of vehicle movements. Secured short distance transfer of mileage data occurs at the time of fueling.” The Oregon system involves a gps receiver, that was designed “not to send an identifying signal out from the on-vehicle device to mark real time travel. Thus, no one would have the ability to track a vehicle’s movements while it was underway or parked. ODOT also designed the on-vehicle device not to retain any travel history.” These representations have led me to believe that a system can be put into place that protects [...]
The latest parade of ideological purity involves GOP governors refusing stimulus money. Jindal is one of a small group of Republican governors, which includes South Carolina’s Mark Sanford and Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, who have said they might refuse some or all of the stimulus money targeted to their states. There are, of course, questions as to how this best represents their constituents, but more interestingly it can be seen as the triumph of ideology over governance. Ezra elaborates: Jindal and Sanford, of course, are running for president. But this is a very particular theory of the Republican primaries. They don’t expect to be judged on whether they’re successful governors. They expect to be judged on ideological purity. And the point they’re making is that when the two conflict, they will side with ideology. The fact that rejecting the funds is obviously bad for the state is also why it’s such a good political move: It shows they are ideologues rather than pragmatists. When you’re dealing with a party that still thinks tax cuts raise revenues, that’s an important point to prove. One wonders how this will play out in 2012.
The Obama administration announced that $15 billion of Medicaid funding from the stimulus bill will be released to the states on Wednesday. Of that amount, MA is scheduled to receive a little over $594 million. Anyone know what the restrictions are with respect to this money?
Items of note in today’s papers. GOP Governors and the stimulus. This whole charade would be funny, if it weren’t for the millions of people who live in Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi, and other states who will suffer because they have the misfortune of being governed by extremists who place scoring political points above the interests of their constituents. I heard Mark Sanford of SC on the radio this morning … let’s just say it was not a confidence-inspiring performance. And this, also from Mr. Sanford: “I think in this instance I would humbly suggest that the real fringe are those that are supporting the stimulus,” Sanford said. Sure, I guess if you redefine “fringe” to mean “substantial majority,” you could say that. What a maroon. Dump Unitil. It’s as simple as that, isn’t it? I don’t live in a Unitil area, but it sure sounds as though this company has done very little right, and a great deal wrong, for a long time. Why not make ‘em a muni? More on pensions. The Globe editorializes today on some proposed pension reforms that have been languishing in a report delivered four years ago. What else is new? But the “reforms” [...]