What is “States’ Rights”?

August 6, 2010

In Missouri, Proposition C passed on Tuesday.  Part of the language in the ballot initiative, which passed with 71 percent of the vote, went like this:

“Shall the Missouri Statutes be amended to….Deny the government authority to penalize citizens for refusing to purchase private health insurance or infringe upon the right to offer or accept direct payment for lawful healthcare services?”

With this, as well as the striking down of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 by a federal judge, The Political Panorama decided to look at the concept of states’ rights this week.

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Visualizing $1 Trillion

August 5, 2010

Our national debt for the first 9 months of our fiscal year was over $1 trillion for the first time. It was the quickest time that our countries has reached a $1 trillion deficit. Here is the main article from Yahoo News, that points out what $1,000,000,000,000 buys.

Here are the highlights, as food for thought as we wind down the fiscal year (that ends September 30th). Read the rest of this entry »

Jan Brewer: The new Sarah Palin? At what cost?

August 2, 2010

For those that do not know (and you may have been residing under a large rock if you do not), Jan Brewer is the Governor of Arizona.  She is a Republican.  She also thinks that people with darker tans than normal should be questioned on the street simply because they appear to be “illegal”.

She is also a hot commodity in Republican primary circles.  Next to former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska), she is the next highly sought after endorsement in the land right now.  For anyone seeking to appear tough on immigration (even if you happen to live in a state like Georgia, which is only a border state if you consider South Carolina to be a foreign republic), Gov. Brewer is the endorsement du jour.

The funny thing is, though, the Republican Party is losing touch with the same voters that they will need to, you know, win elections:

“A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday indicates that on the question of which party cares more about people like you, Hispanic respondents pick the Democrats over the Republicans by 27 points. And when asked which party agrees with you on the issues that matter most to you, Democrats hold a 25 point advantage among Hispanics.”

SB 1070 did that.  Former President George W. Bush was popular (enough) with Hispanic voters.  He did a lot of ads in Spanish, had a muscular Latino outreach organization, and had a mildly humane immigration policy.  Contrast this with the likes of Brewer, and it is no question why Republicans are losing the votes of America’s fastest growing minority group in droves.

Not that, as a Democrat, I am upset by this or anything.

The Auto Bailout and Fiscal Responsibility

August 1, 2010

Sometimes fiscal responsibility means making wise investments with long term benefits taking precedence over short term concerns. That seems to be the case with the auto bailout.

It is worth noting that the use of the term “bailout” is a bit of a misnomer as the money given to the auto industry was in the form of a loan and will be repaid with interest. It is by no means a giveaway. However, since it is the well established nickname for the aid given to the auto industry, I will continue to use it.

I probably would not have supported the auto bailout without serious limitations on executive pay. Wealthy executives should not be rolling in piles of money while working class Americans pay for bailouts of the same company. Additionally, unreasonable executive pay indicates problems with the fiscal responsibility of auto companies and their executives and that raises the question of whether the public should be risking their hard earned dollars to bail them out.

However, it seems as though the auto bailout has paid off. One Chrysler plant “added a second shift of production to the tune of about 1,100 jobs.” Another Chrysler plant will add 900 at a plant outside Detroit. In the year following the bailout and bankruptcies, 55,000 jobs were created in the auto industry which is the largest growth for the auto industry in more than a decade. More than 10,000 additional jobs are projected to be created by the end of the year. Chevrolet and Ford are both operating at a profit and Chrysler is nearly profitable with only the interest on the government loans keeping them in the red.

Equally important is the fact that, while the government likely will not recoup the approximately $25 billion given to the auto industry by the Bush administration, all of the $60 billion given by the Obama administration in the form of loans will be recouped with interest. This is obviously good news.

Fiscal responsibility is a long term approach and means making the financial decision that is the most fiscally responsible, not necessarily the one that is the most fiscally reluctant.

The Stumblings of Two Tennessee GOP Gubernatorial Candidates

July 31, 2010

This past week has brought increasing media attention to the GOP Gubernatorial race in Tennessee due to the views expressed by candidate Basil Marceaux. At first I was struck by the eccentricity of Basil Marceaux, however statements made by Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey on Islam quickly turned the attention in his direction. Read the rest of this entry »

What should we make of ethics in today’s politics?

July 30, 2010

This week, U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) was charged with 13 counts of ethics violations by a House subcommittee.  Corruption is nothing new in politics, and the team at The Political Panorama decided to discuss the issue of ethics in politics.


I stated at my personal blog earlier this week that Charlie Rangel had to step down.  However, ethics has very little to do with it.  In fact, I think that there has been too much of an effort on “good government” in recent years.  People say that they want to be able to “trust” the person that represents them.  Well, would you trust someone that you do not know personally to, say, housesit for you or babysit your child?  Of course not.  So why do we ask that much more of our elected officials?

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Thoughts on The Intelligence Leaks Via WikiLeaks

July 29, 2010

This week, there has been a media firestorm regarding the 90,000 documents that were previously marked “Classified.” They were leaked via the Internet and WikiLeaks.

Like many things, my thoughts are mixed on this. I totally understand and agree with national security. I read what I thought was a New York Times article about three weeks ago that said there were over 850,000 people in the United States with Top Secret Security Clearances. That’s nearly one in every 300 Americans. That’s a lot of people.

Our security should be one of our top priorities, but I would be interested in learning of a new approach of streamlining to know who has what types of security clearances. This would be a facinating report, and I hope that it’s already done and in the hands of the top Administration Officials.

I would like to hope though, in any leak of this kind, that there are serious considerations for the safety of those that could be in harms way if information is released. However, I think that as a country and nation, when things are declassified in a timely manner as they should (if it’s deemed safe) that we can learn from possible mistakes or missteps. I think this is an important piece of American history and the uniqueness of our political system.

I haven’t looked through, and honestly have no desire to go through the leaked documents. However, I hope that they were released with good intentions. Unfortunately though, why our security is so vulnerable is because of the amount of knowledge that one person possibly possesses, and if they wanted to use that information for harm, it could be done. Time, and the news media will tell us how “explosive” these documents are, and I hope the government is honest if they tell us that this leak has the potential to harm Americans at home and abroad.

That’s my two cents. What say you?