Archive | June, 2012

Headline of the day so far

Just in time for the weekend, too. Thanks, Air Force!

[and thanks, Dotty]

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Political reaction to the Supreme Court’s health care decision – buzz from the TV show

On this week’s special one-hour episode of YNN’s Capital Tonight, the show focused entirely on reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Act.

Here’s part of the discussion between YNN’s Karina Kling, Republican strategist Ted Delisi, and me.

This week’s episode also features an extended interview with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, as well as analysis from my longtime friend Sherri Greenberg of UT’s LBJ School, take-aways from the headlines from Harvey Kronberg, plus an interview with the New York Times’ Gail Collins. You can watch the entire show this Sunday at 11 am on YNN Austin, or watch it any time on the interwebz.

And as always, please feel welcome to leave a comment with your own thoughts!

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Republican health care fight a spectacular failure [updated]

After today’s Supreme Court decision affirming the Constitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Act, Republicans are the proud owners of every inch of obstructing affordable health care, from opposing the original legislation, to fighting it all the way to the Supreme Court. Every step of the way, they lost, and every American who could not previously afford quality health care should take note.

Here’s the extent to which they opposed your affordable health care:

The so-called “individual mandate” most in legal question was originally a Republican plan in the first place. In fact, the concept was so Republican that it was the mechanism then-Governor Mitt Romney utilized in Massachusetts. He called it the “personal responsibility mandate” in 2006, which is mighty good spin. Here’s a newly-uncovered video that proves it, despite his assurances to Republican primary voters all year that his plan is somehow magically different:

Perhaps over-simplified a bit, the individual mandate is essentially the funding mechanism for the benefits of the health care plan. Without the funding mechanism, health plan premiums would have gone up for everybody else, and fewer people would have health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office quantified it: they estimate that without the individual mandate, 16 million fewer Americans will have insurance, and the insurance premiums for the rest will quickly rise 15 percent.

That, my friends, is the net effect of what Republican partisans were trying to accomplish with their Supreme Court case: 16 million fewer Americans would have have health care insurance, and costs for everybody else would have been 15 percent higher. 

The lawsuit’s result this morning started in the first place when the Republican Attorneys General from 14 states (including Texas A.G. Greg Abbott), sued immediately after President Obama signed the act into law, in an attempt to overturn the law.

So to review: the Supreme Court concluded that health care reform is constitutional, including the individual mandate (although SCOTUS apparently characterized it as a tax). The Republicans will try to spin the hell out of the “tax” part, even though it’s only a tax for those Americans who fail to do what is required under Mitt Romney’s health care plan.

The individual mandate only exists because it was the mechanism Republicans said they liked, and the mechanism their own Presidential nominee said is essential. Then the Republicans immediately decided that their own plan was terrible, evil, and unconstitutional, because it happens to be signature legislation of a President they hate, and Republicans sued to have it overturned.

So remind me again – what aspect of affordable health care to Americans can Republicans take credit for? Zero. Less than zero. They even fought like hell against their own funding mechanism to ensure its failure. Fortunately, they have apparently failed.

Those 14 original Republican Attorneys General who sued to overturn the plan? They’ll spend the rest of the day complaining, and rename “Obamacare” to “the Obamacare Tax,” all without presenting a new idea of how they would have made health care affordable.

Because we know how they would have done it, because it was their idea in the first place – they would have created the same individual mandate that Obama signed into law, and which the Supreme Court ruled constitutional today.

Even to the extent that they would fight against their own ideas, they gambled away your health care for the sake of politics, and they lost.

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Health care reform and impending doom from SCOTUS

On this week’s episode of YNN’s Capital Tonight, I was asked how the Presidential candidates would move forward in the event the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the individual mandate in health care reform is unconstitutional.

The full episode also features an extended interview with Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on the issue of the legal battle over health care, as well as discussion on the President’s executive order on immigration, and the showdown between Congressional Republicans and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

You can watch the show this Sunday morning at 11 am on YNN Austin, or watch it any time online.

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Colorado. Soon to feature plagues of locusts.

First, the big fire came.

Then, the firefighters arrived to fight it.

Then, the firefighters were grounded when the meteor hit.

Pat Robertson to blame it on “the gays” in 3…2…1

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Let’s us make this little ditty against the war on women go viral

Apparently, on the war on women, the last straw is being reached by some women, including this one.

I stole this fair and square from Juanita Jean, who linked to it but didn’t post it, because she’s scared of her mamma, or something. Luckly, her mamma doesn’t have my number, so enjoy:

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Paging Monticello CSI

I hope the authorities get to the bottom of this. Otherwise this woman may become the butt of many jokes.

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One small step for man; one giant leap for Domingo Garcia

So, did you like what the President did last week, when he issued the Executive Order to stop deportation of Dream Act kids? Yeah, I did too, in a big way.

But did you know that the whole thing was Domingo Garcia’s idea? Yeah, I didn’t either.

But Garcia didn’t waste any time claiming it was all his doing. It’s my guess that anybody who has the President’s ear on such matters wouldn’t be the sort to immediately take credit for stuff, if that person wants the President’s ear ever again.

Domingo Garcia

Forgive me if I’m a bit skeptical that the President of the United States wasn’t really quite sure what to do about a serious national issue until he got a call about it from a former state representative in Texas. I’m sure it’s just coincidence that this former state representative also happens to be running for U.S. Congress at the moment, and is currently behind the 8-ball looking for extra votes in a Democratic run-off election. No, that couldn’t have had anything to do with him taking credit for Obama’s fine work.

But if so, why stop there? I think Mr. Garcia is thinking too small.

I think Garcia should issue a press release reminding voters that he was the one who urged President Reagan to tell Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.

I thought it was particularly clever of Garcia to slip Jonas Salk the cure for polio. It’s a travesty of justice that he didn’t get the proper credit for it.

And thank goodness Garcia had the wisdom to give all those tips to SEAL Team 6, or Osama bin Laden would probably still be alive today.

And how about when Garcia whispered in John Kennedy’s ear that Americans should be first on the moon? How in the world did Kennedy apologists get away with crediting Kennedy with that stroke of genius?

Personally, I’ll be glad when this Congressional race is over. Maybe then Garcia will have the time to let us all in on the secret of why Stonehenge was built, where they hid Jimmy Hoffa’s body, and what’s up with that scary Mayan calendar thing. Plus, he’s still got that whole “curing cancer” thing ahead of him.

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Those fun-loving “family values” Republicans

Percent of Nevada Republican voters who support marriage equality: 20

Percent of Nevada Republican voters who support houses of prostitution: 66

Party on, Republicans.

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Buzz from the TV show: Sadler vs. Yarbrough for US Senate

You know what keeps Democrats up at night? The wrong guy winning a Democratic primary runoff at the top of the ticket. This time it’s the US Senate nomination, in which a well-qualified candidate, Paul Sadler, faces a guy who doesn’t even belong on a Democratic ballot, much less deserve advancing to the runoff.

Here’s my take on where the runoff for U.S. Senate is going, on this week’s episode of YNN’s Capital Tonight:

It wasn’t until I watched the video that I realized that I answered a question that Capital Tonight Anchor Paul Brown didn’t ask – he was asking about the general election, not the Democratic runoff election. But such is live TV, and I’m not concerned – we’ll have three months to hash out the general election, after the Republican and Democratic nominees are chosen.

You can watch the entire episode online here, or you can watch it this Sunday morning on YNN Austin at 11 am.

And most importantly, you can share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Houston disAstros update

I don’t often write about baseball, but when I do, I write about my favorite team, the Houston Astros, which of course is also the team which, most games, I detest. These feelings of bitterness and despair generally begin near the middle of the 7th inning nightly, and for the entire rest of the season after the all-star break, give or take.

Today seems the perfect time to start picking on my beloved Astros this season, since last night they were the victims of a 10-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants, during which Giants pitcher Matt Cain threw a perfect game.

For you non-baseball fans, a perfect game is almost as rare as a progressive Republican, an electrifying Dewhurst speech, or a unicorn sighting. There have only been 22 perfect games in Major League Baseball history. A perfect game means that nobody from the other team ever got on base: 27 up, 27 down. A perfect game is different from a no-hitter, since in a no-hitter a batter can get on base without a hit – through a walk or a pitch that hits the batter, for example. In a perfect game, nobody from the other team ever gets on base.

So after the Astros were shut out last night by a perfect game, I started looking up stuff out of curiosity, mostly about no-hitters. Since it’s possible for a team pitching a no-hitter to actually lose a game, through any combination of walks and/or errors, I wondered what hapless pitchers have been inflicted with such a good-night-turned-bad.

Interestingly, there has only been one officially-recognized no-hitter in which a pitcher who pitched the complete game lost his no-hitter, and it was Ken Johnson of the Colt 45s, in 1964, against Cincinnati. Pete Rose was the winning run, getting around the bases via error, then groundout, then another error. That buzz-kill alone was probably enough to change the name of the team for next season, to – you guess it – the Houston Astros.

Here’s more no-hitter trivia: in total, there have been a total of two 9-inning no-hitters resulting in a losing effort for the team, which seems like a total bummer to the hapless pitchers who have certainly done their job, but there you have it. While Major League Baseball doesn’t recognize a game as a no-hitter if only 8 innings were pitched, in 1990 Andy Hawkins of the Yankees pitched an 8-inning no-hitter and his team still lost the game 4-0 to the Chicago White Sox, the highest score ever achieved by any team which had no hits. I’m guessing it was a tense Yankees locker room that night.

But no more tense than the Astros locker room many nights.

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Headline of the day so far

Apparently the rumors about the Obama White House being anti-gun aren’t true – the staff may have been shotgunning after hours.

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John Cornyn versus Eric Holder

What Senator John Cornyn told Attorney General Eric Holder, because news media were present:

What John Cornyn would have told Eric Holder, if reporters hadn’t been there:

How Eric Holder could have appropriately responded to John Cornyn:

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What could possibly go wrong?

Dallas gun range to offer kids birthday parties.

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It saves lives.

This tragedy could have been prevented. But at least we have a “headline of the day so far” winner.

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