Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday PoliLinks

Snow on the ground has The Curmudgeon looking forward to the annual visit to the in-laws in sunny south Florida, although he won't be wearing his hoodie in the land of early-bird dinners. Apparently that can be a capital offense...

Another Faux News Bubble Gets Burst

Readers of this blog probably already recognize that much of Fox News "reporting" is thinly disguised political propaganda that often diverges from reality and/or truth. Add to the list of faux scandals the puffery over government investments in alternative energy. "A colossal waste of taxpayer dollars" is among the nicer things said by the Fox bloviators.
Well, it turns out they were, uh, wrong.
The alternative energy investment program is actually turning a profit.
When venture capitalists, guys like Mitt Romney, invest money in companies they know that not all the investments pay off. Some lose money. Their goal is to end up with a positive bottom line. It's called "risk/reward".
That is exactly how the government's alternative energy program has worked. According to a report on NPR...
Overall, the agency has loaned $34.2 billion to a variety of businesses, under a program designed to speed up development of clean-energy technology. Companies have defaulted on $780 million of that -- a loss rate of 2.28 percent. The agency also has collected $810 million in interest payments, putting the program $30 million in the black.
When Congress created the loan program under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, it was never designed to be a moneymaker. In fact, Congress imagined there would be losses and set aside $10 billion to cover them.

Senate Votes to Double Gas Tax

Now that they've been safely re-elected, Republicans in the state Senate have found the courage to do something about Michigan's worst-in-the-nation roads. 
Lame duck Majority Leader Randy Richardville has pushed through legislation which would change the gas tax to a charge against wholesale prices, beginning at 9% in 2015 and ratcheting up to 15.5% by the beginning of 2018. The Senate Fiscal Agency projects the tax hike would amount to between $781-million and $1.5-billion when fully implemented, depending on gas prices.
In exchange for Democratic votes needed to pass the bill, Republicans apparently agreed not to vote on legislation changing Michigan's electoral college or repeal the state's prevailing wage law. While not explicitly confirmed by Democratic leader Gretchen Whitmer, she hinted that an agreement had been made to avoid issues that are "too overtly partisan" which is code for electoral college and prevailing wage changes.
In the final vote, 10 Democrats joined with 13 Republicans to pass the bill. The Senate then adjourned (after a one-day session) for deer-hunting season and Thanksgiving, and will return in December. (Must be nice to work for one entire day between September and December...)

Push for Paid Sick Leave Launched

A coalition of progressive groups is urging the Legislature to look at paid sick-day legislation as a matter of both good social policy, and because it is good business.
“This past election showed that the public supports paid sick days and family leave laws,” said Danielle Atkinson, director of Mothering Justice, noting that places like Massachusetts, Oakland, Calif., and two cities in New Jersey passed paid sick day legislation in the November 4th election. 
In a recent poll, 57 percent of respondents, including 79 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans, said it was “very important” for lawmakers to consider new laws to help keep working families economically secure, including ensuring workers the right to earn paid sick days.
This type of legislation is nothing new. In fact, many employers already have this type of policy in place,” Atkinson continued. “But for those who don’t have paid sick days, this type of law can be life-changing: it can make a world of difference for working women, single parents, and workers across the spectrum.”
More than 1.5 million Michigan workers — about 46 percent of the state’s private sector workforce — are not able to take a paid sick day when they are ill.
“At some point in our lives, nearly all of us need to take time off of work to recover from an illness or a medical condition, get medical treatment, or care for a sick loved one or a new child,” said Marissa Luna, a new media specialist with Engage Michigan. “Many people cannot afford to lose a day’s worth of pay to take care of themselves or their loved ones when situations like those arise. Having guaranteed paid sick days would ensure that everyone has a fair shot at getting ahead and that no one would get left behind because of an unexpected problem at home.”
The press conference served as a launching point for the groups to begin organizing around the issue for the next two years. They believe that the beginning of a new legislative session requires a renewed push for priorities that benefit all Michiganders, including paid sick day legislation. 

Democrats (Finally) Focus on Winning the States

Democrats are finally figuring out what Republicans have known for a long time: the real control of the American policy agenda is at the state level. Republicans now control 68 of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers, and hold 31 governorships. There are 23 one-party states controlled by the GOP (including, of course, Michigan); Democrats only fully control seven.
A conservative Washington D.C. outlet, the Washington Freedom Free Beacon, has uncovered a plan among big-money Democrats to finally focus on winning back control of states in time for the 2021 nationwide redistricting, because it is redistricting that has made the U.S. House the semi-permanent property of Republicans.
The plan, according to the Free Beacon, will funnel $100-million into state legislative races. This is something Republicans and their billionaire funders have been doing for awhile. In this cycle, the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity spent hundreds-of-thousands in targeted state House districts. Their biggest win was knocking out Democrat Teresa Abed, the only Democratic incumbent to lose. She was the target of an estimated $200,000 in direct mail advertising from AFP. She lost by 310 votes out of 35,000 votes cast.

Another Farewell to Democracy

Governor Snyder's Emergency Manager for Flint has decided that he don't need no stinkin' elections. He's just going to appoint replacements for two city council members who resigned. 'Nuff said. Thank you Benevolent Lord Snyder for your superior judgement.
Darnell Earley, Lord High Commissioner and Ultimate Ruler of Flint

Sometimes the Public is Just Ignorant

That conclusion comes from a Rasmussen survey which shows 61% of Americans OPPOSE internet neutrality legislation because they like their internet service the way it is. The problem: net neutrality, which would regulate the internet as a public utility, is designed to maintain internet service the way it is with no money-driven winners and losers.
Source: Huffington Post
Without net neutrality, the internet providers would auction off the fastest transmission speeds to the highest bidders. The little guys would be left in the dust. Maybe it wouldn't be a return to dial-up modem days, but the likelihood of a throttle on many websites becomes a reality.
So, in reality, net neutrality is needed to keep what Americans say they want: a free and open internet, 
In a December, 2010 Rasmussen poll 56% said FCC regulation of the internet would be used to promote a political agenda and lead to censorship. That's like saying the FCC is going to censor telephone calls, or use your phone service to promote Kenyan-Muslim socialism. It may be paranoia, but Comcast/ATT et. al. are making the sale.

Speaking of Ignorant...

There's an interesting post this morning on the Crooks and Liars site. It seems Ted Cruz, that intellectual giant from Texas, opposes Net Neutrality because it's the internet version of Obamacare. I don't need to attack his moronic arguments because, apparently, conservatives are attacking his moronic arguments in a pretty convincing manner. Comments culled from Cruz' Facebook page:

Ed P As a Republican who works in the tech industry I can say that this statement shows you either have no idea what you are talking about or you are bought and paid for by the American Cable monopoly. This is amazingly an stupid statement and is disheartening.

Keith F Ted, I am as conservative as they come…. I want government out of just about everything… and I hate to say it, really hate to say it, but Obama is right on this one. I do not want my access and internet speed controlled by my ISP. It will be. The internet has been an open forum with little to no restrictions, that will change and not for the better. Bottom line, do not go against freedom of the net just because Obama is for it. Even an old blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.

Joey C As a Republican whom also works in IT like Ed… You have no clue what you are talking about or you are company bought and paid for.

A Jinnie M Goddammit, stop making my party look like morons and look up net neutrality. It doesn’t mean what you and your speechwriters think it means.

Marvin E Ted Cruz, as a tech and fiscal conservative in Texas who generally votes Republican, I am incredibly disappointed by your completely inaccurate statement. Please read up on what Net Neutrality actually is and fire any staff you have who are advising you on technical matters.

Sam A Senator Cruz, you are wrong on this one. As a conservative voter and IT professional, I can assure you that Net Neutrality is a GOOD THING. Internet providers (who are also content owners) can’t be trusted (as has already been proven) to allow consumers equal access to content from their competitors. This is why the government needs to ensure Net Neutrality as it protects the consumer from the bias of their Internet provider. This is especially true since we don’t have real competition in this space.

Adam H Go find whatever rock you crawled out from under Ted and stay under it! Proud republican here, but not so proud to be blind like the good senator. Look how “great” our free market Internet is!!! I pay $100 a month for 15mbs / 100gb p/m capped Internet. Yep, those “free” markets really make it better lmao

David V Texas employer here… This is really the wrong issue for you. Drop this quickly and move on to something else before it’s too late. You’re starting to look like a Tea Party whacko growling for his corporate masters. Move on before you embarrass the Republicans out of the next presidency. Net neutrality is about ensuring a free market. America loves a free market. But hey, be against free markets and America. It’s cool. I’m sure no one will think of you when their Netflix slows down who wouldn’t have before.

Jimmy L Wow. I am embarassed that I supported you Ted. Face palm. I think it’s time that I “unlike” your FB page.

Eric E Kim Well I guess I’m now a democrat. Thanks for making it easy for me Ted. Don’t fck with my internet.

Paul J This clearly indicates that Ted is fighting mental health and, in his mind, he is winning. How far removed from commons sense can a person be? Yet another Republican soiling the waters and creating more confusion. Net neutrality is to everyone’s advantage! No CORPORATION can buy up and control the internet. THAT is what Cruz does not like.

America's Ebola Crisis

Remember before the election when every cable channel spent half their time tracking Ebola cases, possible Ebola cases and could-it-become Ebola cases? When the nightly network newscasts led with 8-to-10 minutes on Ebola? When Republicans (and a few Democrats) mounted their high horses to scream that the Obama administration was blowing it and putting America at risk for a modern-day version of the Black Plague?
(Yes, a brave doctor who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone will arrive in the United States tomorrow for treatment. But you can bet the coverage will be much more muted, much more in proportion to the actual news value of the story.)
Yah, that was two weeks ago. Before the election.
Election over. Obama's image damaged a little more as someone who really isn't protecting America.
And nobody in this country – NOBODY – has Ebola. No American – NONE – has died from an Ebola infection.
But the Ebola "crisis" did its job, helping drive the President's approval numbers a little lower just in time for the mid-term election.
Pathetic. Driving American opinion is like herding sheep. All you have to do is bark a lot.

No comments:

Post a Comment