Keystone Pipeline

As part of the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut, GOP officials demanded an expedited decision on the project.

And Obama did the only thing he could do given that limitation.  He stopped the project.

Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly, at the end of his post on the subject, includes this claim that Obama’s decision was an act of courage:

Bill McKibben, founder and Keystone XL protest leader,issued a statement this afternoon, lauding President Obama. “[T]his isn’t just the right call, it’s the brave call,” McKibben said. “The knock on Barack Obama from many quarters has been that he’s too conciliatory. But here, in the face of a naked political threat from Big Oil to exact ‘huge political consequences,’ he’s stood up strong.”

Ann Althouse thinks the decision was pure politics:

 It wasn’t so much a question of whether he should make the right decision or do what would help him get re-elected. It was which way to decide would better help him get re-elected.

Althouse is probably closer to the truth.

I may be mistaken, but I detect a hint of snark in Althouse’s comment.  Since Obama has stopped trying to compromise with the Republicans and started being more confrontational, I have come across many complaints from the right about how Obama is now in “campaign” mode.

Of course they complain of it. Obama is very good at campaigning, too good from the GOP perspective. If they did not want him in campaign mode, they should have been more cooperative when he was in “governing” mode.

Also from Benen’s post:

I’d argue that this is the outcome Republicans wanted all along. The GOP didn’t really want the pipeline; they wanted the ability to whine about the absence of the pipeline. This wasn’t, in other words, about energy production; this was about creating an issue for the 2012 campaign.

I agree with that. But I think this backfires on the GOP (though in the end it won’t mean much either way). Obama now gets credit from the liberals for stopping the project and can persuasively argue to moderates that the GOP tied his hands.


Which One Is Right? I Know This! Why Don’t You?

I heard this on the radio yesterday morning, but by the time I got home I could not remember what it was I had heard and wanted to blog about.  Well, I figured someone else would mention it to jog my memory.  And someone else did!

Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly posted today with the same thought (but better expressed) as I blogged yesterday.  At the end, he postscripts

Just as an aside, Perry also believes public-school science classes should present students with both science and religion, assuming young people are “smart enough to figure out which one is right.” Here’s a radical idea: maybe Perry should consider a similar approach to sex-ed?

Well, yes, maybe he should consider a similar approach to sex-ed.  That would be refreshing.  But my thought is that Perry assumes young people are smart enough to figure out which one is right despite the fact that he himself is not smart enough to do so.  But of course, he is smart enough.  He “knows” that creationism is right!  So he figures kids are smart enough to always choose creationism?  He figures that some kids will choose creationism and some science and he’s OK with that?

Of course, it is not a matter of choice.  Too bad Perry isn’t smart enough to figure that out.


Indoctrination Camps

Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly has a post up about the Republicans who want to do away with public schools.  He quotes Rick Santorum talking about Mussolini’s Fascist Italy.  His uncle

used to get up in a brown shirt and march and be told how to be a good little fascist….I don’t know, maybe they called it early pre-K or something like that, that the government sponsored to get your children in there so they can indoctrinate them.

The upshot here is that there are several Republicans who are increasingly willing to talk about doing away with public schools altogether.  This amounts to a willingness to do away with universal education (since they would eventually want to cut the vouchers to less than what schools charge).

What’s funny here is when have the schools not been about indoctrination as well as education? When I was in school, we said the Pledge of Allegiance (“under God”) every day.  What is that if not indoctrination?

Conservatives have lost the battle over control of the indoctrination message and their final last ditch effort is to do away with public education altogether in hopes that the vast majority of private schools will indoctrinate the way the Conservatives want.

To recap:  when the complaint is that the schools are indoctrinating, they mean the schools are indoctrinating the wrong thing.

When they want to do away with public schools, they want to do away with universal education.


Maybe It Is Infectious

Senator Ron Johnson has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal and tells the touching story of the medical care that saved his daughter’s life and goes on to claim that under the Affordable Care Act this medical care might not have been there for his daughter.    He offers no evidence of this, but what  need is there of evidence when one has a touching anecdote regardless of how relevant it is.   He also manages to cherry pick a bunch of statistics to show the US is good and Europe is bad

So, of course, liberal bloggers are  jumping all over his absurd claims.

One such blogger is Igor Vlosky writing in the Wonkroom blog at Think Progress.  Mr. Vlosky makes the case for why Senator Johnson’s op ed mostly displays Senator Johnson’s lack of understanding of heath care and the Affordable Care Act.  He finishes up with some comparisons of the US to Europe, ending with

The United States is also “ranked 29th in the world in infant mortality, tied with Poland and Slovakia.” And so, Johnson gets it wrong. The ACA wouldn’t have killed Johnson’s daughter, but thousands of other uninsured babies would have died without it.

I did a quick Google and I am pretty sure the infant mortality stats for 2010 are not yet available, though the rate did go down in Milwaukee.

Given that the US has been experiencing over four million  births a year and that the mortality rate has been over six per 1000, there are certainly thousands of babies to be saved.  But I do not believe there is as yet any evidence that the Affordable Care Act has in fact done so.

Senator Johnson makes claims based on no evidence and Mr. Vlosky does the same after reading Johnson’s claims.*  Is it infectious?

I can tell you that the Affordable Care Act has not just saved tens of thousands of lives already, but is largely responsible for the economic recovery as well as the freedom movements in northern Africa and the mid-east.


*and Steve Benen at the Washington Monthy blithely quotes Mr. Vlosky’s absurd claim.

Political Battles Never End

I was just reading Steve Benen’s blog at The Washington MonthlyHe has an entry complaining about those Republicans who are working on how they might reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I disagree with his complaint on two counts.

First, history, especially recent history, teaches us that political battles never end.  Wisconsin has passed the law stripping public service workers of almost all their collective bargaining rights, but the opponents of that law are still working hard to overturn it.  I do not believe I have seen any complaints from Steve about that.

Second, polls have shown that the majority of Americans wanted Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repealed.  So I say let the Republicans go on record as wanting to repeal it.  As Americans want jobs, the Republicans continue to pursue agendas that either have no effect on jobs or would cost jobs.  If the Democrats come up with any decent messaging at all, they should storm back to large majorities in 2012.