General Politics

President Obama spoke about his final plans for health care reform and made a call for Congress to stop wasting time and do something once and for all. As he says so eloquently, it has been a year. Everything that can be said has been said and it’s been said by everybody. Watch the videos below and make up your own mind. I’ve provided a few select excerpts to read below as well.

“I don’t believe we should give government bureaucrats or insurance company bureaucrats more control over health care in America. I believe it’s time to give the American people more control over their own health insurance. I don’t believe we can afford to leave life-and-death decisions about health care to the discretion of insurance company executives alone. I believe that doctors and nurses like the ones in this room should be free to decide what’s best for their patients.

The proposal I’ve put forward gives Americans more control over their health care by holding insurance companies more accountable. It builds on the current system where most Americans get their health insurance from their employer. If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Because I can tell you that as the father of two young girls, I wouldn’t want any plan that interferes with the relationship between a family and their doctor. …

So this is our proposal. This is where we’ve ended up. It’s an approach that has been debated and changed and I believe improved over the last year. It incorporates the best ideas from Democrats and Republicans – including some of the ideas that Republicans offered during the health care summit, like funding state grants on medical malpractice reform and curbing waste, fraud, and abuse in the health care system. My proposal also gets rid of many of the provisions that had no place in health care reform – provisions that were more about winning individual votes in Congress than improving health care for all Americans.”

Just saying. You want religion separate from politics, traitor? All you’re going to do is start a civil war.

Virginia: We like life exciting!

Six Democrats and sixteen Republicans in the Virginia Senate recently found a more interesting way to help people kill each other by passing Bill 334, making it legal for people with concealed weapon permits to carry guns into restaurants and bars.  If you thought that this sounded like a bad idea, worry no longer though.  If you do carry your concealed weapon into a bar in Virginia, you’re not allowed to drink with your gun on you.  This might make you wonder what someone would be doing in a bar with a gun in Virginia while they weren’t drinking, but I think the answer is pretty obvious: challenging someone to a duel.

This is a vast improvement from current Virginia law, which only makes it legal to carry a firearm into your local Sizzler only if it’s visible.  Fortunately, if restaurant owners are uncomfortable with the thought of their patrons settling their checks with lead, they still have the right to ban guns from their establishments.  Now, when you go to get your Grand Slam at Denny’s, you also receive a complimentary pat-down at the door as well!

This gun is no longer considered 'concealed' in Virginia.

In another stroke of genius, the Virginia Senate also made it legal for citizens who do not have a concealed gun permit to be able to conceal their guns in the glove box of their car.  Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, who suffers from one-too-many last names, argued that the world is a much safer place when someone’s gun is locked in the glove box of their car.  She said it also made it a lot more exciting for police officers who have to ask you to pull out your license and registration when they pull you over, because, shit, now your registration might be stuck to the gun in your glove box.

Most opposition to this new law rests with the concern of with gun wielding citizens drinking.  However, Sen. Emmett W. Hanger brought up a really valid point when he said “…current law prohibited law-abiding citizens from enjoying their favorite restaurants, such as the Red Lobster, without the security of carrying their firearm.”  (I swear, that is the example this guy used)

Obviously, raising an incredibly valid point, Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple consulted with her staffers, asked for a short recess, collected her thoughts, and replied, “As a final comment, let me just say this. I’ve really never been afraid for my life at the Red Lobster.”

Apparently there was some confusion about what went on at Red Lobster restaurants.  When told that there were not actually giant, man-eating red lobsters at Red Lobster restaurants, Sen. Hanger, with a look of confusion then asked, “Why would people need to carry guns to a Red Lobster, then?”

My question to all these Senators who claim that citizens have a right to protect themselves is this:

What kind of crazy-ass place is Virginia where people feel threatened for their lives when they go out to eat at restaurants?!

I would probably just move away from a state if I felt that I needed a gun to protect myself and my family from all of the dangerous criminals at the IHOP.

Sen. Emmett W. Hanger: Advocate for people who fear for their lives at Red Lobster.

Sources: 1, 2

Are we about the quote a Republican? You know, favorably? You bet we are. Aimed at his fellow Republicans, particularly Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, California Governor and all around bad ass Arnold Schwarzenegger had this to say:

“I find it interesting that you have a lot of the Republicans running around, and pushing back on the stimulus money and saying, ‘This doesn’t create any new job.’ And then they go out and do the photo ops, posing with the big check and they say: ‘Isn’t this great, look at the kind of money I’ve provided for the state and this is money to create jobs, and this has created 10,000 new jobs, this has created 20,000 news jobs, and all those kinds of things.’ It doesn’t match up. … I don’t want to beat up on my Republican colleagues but I think it is kind of politics rather than thinking about one thing, and this is: ‘How do we support the president? How do we support him and everything we can in order to go and stimulate the economy back and think about the people and not the politics?’ … Anyone that says this hasn’t created a job, they should talk to the 150,000 people getting jobs in California – from the private sector and also from the public sector.”

I was going to make a funny Schwarzenegger joke to end this, then I realized after this many years as the governor of California, every single possible joke has been made, usually numerous times, so I’ll refrain. I will say that it is nice to see a Republican say something that isn’t completely nonsensical for once.

Source: 1

New Left Media strikes again, giving radical conservatives the chance to speak their thoughts, providing us with the enjoyment of watching them crash and burn as they try to explain why they believe what they believe. The enjoyment soon turns to disgust though when you realize that this isn’t a skit from Mad TV, but real people and real opinions. Ack!

Previous New Left Media videos: Palin book signing, Tea Party march in DC, Equal Rights in Maine

I’ve always said, if there comes a day that I don’t like my career choice and I’m unhappy with where I live, well, I’m going to find a new job and find a new place to live. Simple as that. When it comes right down to it, most of us are going to be middle class and make just about the same amount of money no matter what we do. So, if you have a $50,000 a year job, would you not be willing to give up $10,000 or even $15,000 of it a year for to do something that you enjoy and live in place where you want to be? You spend too much of your life working to be stuck doing something you don’t want to do – and if you’re the type who is thirty years old and just going through the motions and counting down to retirement, you’re going to be sorely disappointed when you finally get the chance to retire and you realize that you may have time and money, but there is one thing you can never get back: your youth.

If you’re one of the discontent bunch – for instance, if you live in Cleveland – and are looking for your chance to move, a yearly index was put together that found the happiest cities to live in America, based on “interviews with more than 353,000 Americans during 2009, asked individuals to assess their jobs, finances, physical health, emotional state of mind and communities.” You can look at the entire list over the USA Today or check out the top 10 below.

10. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA
9. Ogden-Clearfield, UT
8. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
7. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
6. Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA
5. Santa Rosa-Petaluma, CA
4. Provo-Orem, UT
3. Honolulu, HI
2. Holland-Grand Haven, MI
1. Boulder, CO

So, make your move. Before your youth escapes you.

While in Hollywood movies the filibuster has been used for the noblest of purposes, such isn’t always the case in the real world. It’s being used and abused to the point that the government is crippled from enacting any sort of progressive legislation, and this madness has to stop. Democratic Iowa Senator Tom Harkin wrote this lovely piece on the Huffington Post. He is pursuing to end the filibuster as we know it, which brings up an interesting debate. Read on.

After the recent blizzard, a newspaper columnist noted that Washington had been “immobilized by snow.” “This is highly unusual,” she quipped. “Normally, Washington is immobilized by Senators.”

It’s a funny line. But the unprecedented abuse of the filibuster by Republicans is no joke.

When many people think of the filibuster, it brings to mind the classic 1939 film, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. But Senator Smith – Jimmy Stewart’s character – was a little guy using the filibuster to stop the special interests. Today, that has been turned upside-down. It is the special interests using the filibuster to stop legislation that would benefit the little guy.

Among other bills, Republicans have filibustered legislation to provide low-income energy assistance; efforts to strengthen the Consumer Product Safety Commission to ensure our children are not exposed to unsafe toys; and efforts to ensure that women are guaranteed equal pay for equal work.

The problem is not only that Republicans are using the filibuster to kill good bills that would help working Americans. The larger problem is that the Republicans’ indiscriminate use of the filibuster has made it all but impossible to conduct everyday business in the Senate. On an almost daily basis, the Republican minority – just 41 Senators – stops bills from even coming to the floor for debate and amendment.

In the 1950s, an average of one bill was filibustered in each two-year Congress. In the last Congress, 139 bills were filibustered. The Republican abuse of the filibuster is unprecedented, routine, and increasingly reckless.

Just last week, a Republican Senator blocked the nomination of every single executive branch nominee – 70 in all. This isn’t about reasoned opposition. It is about systematic, indiscriminate obstruction of the majority’s ability to conduct even routine, non-controversial business.

The Senate cannot continue down this path of obstruction, paralysis, and de facto minority rule. That is why I have introduced a bill to change the Standing Rules of the Senate to reform the cloture procedure in the United States Senate.

Currently, it takes 60 votes in the Senate to “invoke cloture” — in other words, to end debate on a legislative measure and bring it to a vote. My legislation would permit a decreasing number of Senators to invoke cloture on a given measure. On the first cloture attempt, 60 votes would be required. But, over a period of days or weeks, the number of votes required would fall to a simple majority of 51 Senators.

I want to emphasize that I am offering this bill with clean hands. I introduced the exact same bill in 1995, when Democrats were in the minority in the Senate. So this legislation is not about one party or the other gaining advantage. It is about the Senate, as an institution, operating more fairly, effectively, and small-d democratically.

It takes 67 votes to change the Senate rules – which, I acknowledge, is a tall order. But, by introducing this bill, I want to shine a spotlight on the egregious abuse of the filibuster, and how that abuse is paralyzing our democracy and making a mockery of the concept of majority rule.

I do not see how we can effectively govern a 21st century superpower when a minority of just 41 Senators can dictate action – or chronic inaction – not just to a majority of Senators, but to a majority of the American people. It is time to fix the filibuster, and make our nation governable, once again.

Now that we’re feeling all pessimistic, let’s watch the brilliant climax from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Yay! I bet this is what the Republicans felt like 139 times recently!

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