Thursday, July 13, 2006
Profiles In Courage.
When recognizing marriage entered after the adoption of this amendment by the people, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall define marriage as only the union of one man and one woman.This is, of course, the so-called Protection of Marriage Amendment - made necessary by the 4-3 opinion of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court that a never-before discovered right to homosexual marriage existed in our Constitution, and further that the SJC - and neither the executive nor the legislative branches of the state government - were the final arbiters on what is and is not a marriage.
My distain for this particular ruling is probably not surprising.
But why you ask am I dragging-up this unpleasant recent history?
Well, it's because in spite of the fact that over 170,000 people signed a petition asking for a vote on this amendment, said amendment must receive the votes of at least 50 legislators during two successive Constitutional Conventions before we mere unelected mortals (opposed to the unelected judicial overlords, of course) can actually vote it's merits. That is proven, I'll be charitable, problematic since 2004.
Still, having punted on the matter last year when a similar amendment was before the Convention, supporters of traditional marriage had high hopes that we would, finally, take a small step forward on this issue. Surely our elected representatives wouldn't ignore the will of a record number of petition-signers during the constitutional convention that was convened this week, would they?
Based on the title of this entry, you can probably figure just how well that went.
State lawmakers ducked the gay marriage issue again yesterday, delaying until after the November elections a vote on a constitutional amendment that would restrict civil marriages to heterosexual couples.Oh read on, it get's much better...
The early evening, 100-91 decision to put off the vote until Nov. 9 came after hundreds of demonstrators on both sides of the contentious issue argued their cases - often loudly.But wait! There's more...
“Democracy lost today,” said state Rep. Marie Parente (D-Milford), speaking outside the House chamber. “It doesn’t matter where you are on the issue . . . I’m a supporter of the people’s right to vote.”
State Rep. Thomas Sannicandro (D-Ashland), who supports same-sex marriage, said he voted for the delay so fellow lawmakers could vote without the pressure of having to face voters soon thereafter.Words fail me.
“They will absolutely vote their conscience because there’s no campaign issue or no election in front of them,” he said.
Sadly, most of these gutless wonders have little to fear from us knuckle-dragging troglodites who wish nothing more than to vote on this issue - in other words, to let the people decide what is and is not a marriage. You see, Democrats control roughly 6 out of every 7 seats in the Massachusetts General Court (that would be legislature) and, well, because of the pitiful condition of the state GOP, most of them have precisely no opponent come November and for the few that have a challenger, many of them are frankly not serious competition.
It's another glorious day for representative government in the People's Republic of Massachusetts.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
And the lousy Bush economy rolls on...
Ever wonder why the Democrats and the Media (but I repeat myself) don't seem to talk about the economy much anymore? Well, maybe it's because of things like this:
The economy sprang out of a year-end rut and zipped ahead in the opening quarter of this year at a 5.6 percent pace, the fastest in 2 1/2 years and even stronger than previously thought.
I blame Bush.
The new snapshot of gross domestic product for the January-to-March period exceeded the 5.3 percent growth rate estimated a month ago, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The upgraded reading -- based on more complete information -- matched economists' forecasts.
The stronger GDP figure mostly reflected an improvement in the country's trade deficit, which was much less of a drag than previously estimated.
With that out of the way, and with this being an AP piece, the bulk of the story is about how, in spite of this robust growth:
Fresher barometers, however, suggest the economy is shifting into a lower gear in the current quarter.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said that new claims filed for unemployment benefits last week rose by 4,000 to 313,000 -- a bit more than economists were expecting.
Economists predict that economic growth in the April-to-June quarter probably slowed to a pace of around 2.5 percent to 3 percent.
leaving the horrible impression that...
the economy will have registered a seesaw-like pattern of growth in the last few quarters.
Because, of course, good news simply cannot be allowed to stand on it's own - when there's a Republican in the White House, that is.
President Bush, coping with low job-approval ratings, hopes Goldman Sachs chief Henry Paulson -- the man who has been confirmed to be the next treasury secretary -- will breath new life in the administration's economic agenda.
Sure, because nearly 5-years of steady, sustained, uninterrupted economic growth with little inflation is a God-awful horrible legacy for this particular economic agenda. Right?
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Romney vetoes "employer mandate"
However, as also foretold, the Governor exercised his line-item veto authority to nullify - for the time being - the truly nutty part of the legislation:
However, the governor vetoed a key portion of the bill — a $295-per-worker assessment on businesses that do not provide health insurance. Some critics have called that provision a tax on businesses.
It's worse than a tax on businesses, actually - it's a foot-in-the-door toward requiring all businesses to provide insurance - and only insurance acceptable to the Massachusetts legislature - to all of their employees, whether they can afford it or not.
"It's a very small feature of this bill. It's a very insignificant and unnecessary and, in some respects, counterproductive element of this bill," Romney had told The Associated Press in an interview on Tuesday. "It applies to a tiny number of employers, and it raises a very small amount of money relative to the scale of this entire proposal. So I don't think it's necessary."
Obviously, the Democrats in the legislature - desperate it seems to demonstrate their "compassion" by passing yet another mandate on to businesses, thereby claiming credit for a great accomplishment while incurring none of the icky costs - are less than pleased with the veto:
"To change anything will disturb the delicate balance that made this law possible," House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi said in a statement. "Each and every element of this law is critical to accomplishing our intentions and goals."
Sure, Mr. Speakah. We all know the "goal" of which you speak - and it has very, very little to do with insuring the uninsured.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Today, boys and girls, we'll be dealing with an old stand-by - that Ted Kennedy, the senior Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a certified tree-hugging environmental extremist, is all for alternative energy sources...
He is, in other words, a NIMBY-ite hypocrite of the first degree.
Critics say the Massachusetts Democrat doesn't want the Cape Wind project in his own back yard along with 130 windmills that might clutter the water view of the Kennedy clan's vacation home. Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts' junior senator and another key green ally, called attempts to derail the project an "insult."(quote from WashTimes piece)
Kennedy's biggest "complaint" - at least the one he was willing to verbalize as we know what is his real complaint - is that there was insufficient vetting of the CapeWind project, that there is no national policy on off-shore energy generation, there are environmental concerns, blah blah blah.
It's crap - all of it.
Kennedy doesn't want a wind farm off Nantucket Sound because it's in his - metaphorically speaking - back yard, plain and simple.
So when the project cleared it's last regulatory hurdle and the Fat Man had no legs upon which to stand, he did what liberals always do when they cannot get their way in a public forum - he closed the doors.
(From the CC Times article)
...as federal lawmakers wrestled in recent weeks over legislation that could doom the proposed Cape Wind project, the powerful Democrat and Hyannisport homeowner made a clear effort to steer clear. At least publicly.
While Kennedy's office said early last week the senator wasn't familiar with the specific language that was adopted - giving the Bay State governor authority to veto a project on the Sound - a spokeswoman for the senator said later he had urged a conference committee leader to support it.
Specifically, Kennedy called U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, the veteran lawmaker who, according to sources, wrote the language.
Credit where due, The Gigolo is sticking to his guns:
Interestingly, U.S. Sen. John Kerry, who has largely stayed out of the debate, had called conferees urging them to defeat the amendment.
So let's summarize: Ted Kennedy, certified tree-hugging environmental extremist, had the opportunity to demonstrate his bona-fides by endorsing a visible, sensible, alternative energy project that might, on a really, really clear day, be visible from his water-front property with a telescope - and he punted.
Because as we all know, the rules are different if your last name is Kennedy.
For the record, I happen to think the windmills look cool - and I have plenty of opportunity to see one in action, at least weekly.
Cross-posted - largely - at RedState.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
OK. SO, I'm 40.
Seeing as I was born on April 5th of 1966, I'm feeling a little old today - and really don't give a rip about any of this.
I'm sure I'll feel better tomorrow...
... if it stops freaking SNOWING by then, that is.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
I know what you're saying.
Massachusetts residents who can afford health insurance but refuse to pay for it would face increasing tax penalties under a sweeping health care reform package designed to dramatically expand coverage to the more than 500,000 uninsured residents in the state.
Oh swell, you say. And just who is going to decide whether or not you can "afford" health insurance, you might ask? Why, the same people who decide what is "affordable housing", of course!
Backers hope the bill, set to be voted on by the House and Senate Tuesday, will establish a national model for other states grappling with how to provide insurance to more of their citizens.
Yes, please - let us all hope we are able to expand this idiocy beyond the borders of the Commonwealth, you say. That way ours will not be the only state economy to collapse under the burden of this monstrous proposal. I mean, socialized medicine is working so well in other countries - why not import it here?
It also must withstand the scrutiny of Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican who has expressed concern about a key funding element in the legislation. Romney voiced support for the bill Monday.
I must admit that when I read that last sentence it scared me - greatly.
(House Speaker Salvatore) DiMasi called the bill "historic."
Well this, this and that were also "historic". Anyone want a repeat of those? Just because something is "historic" doesn't make it "good", Mr. Speakah.
"We will be able to, in three years, hopefully, virtually insure every man, woman and child in this commonwealth of Massachusetts," DiMasi said. "We have the most comprehensive package that, I think, will be the model for the rest of the country."
I hear that a bill declaring Apple Pie and Motherhood to be "All-American" will be introduced this week as well.
But get to the point, you're saying. Who is going to pay for this little slice of Utopia?
Wait for it...
Wait for it...
A key portion of the bill requires businesses that don't offer insurance to pay a $295 dollar per-worker assessment. The assessment was an early sticking point between the two versions of the bill.
Ding! Oh, there it is! You just knew there had to be a new employer payroll mandate in there somewhere, didn't you? I mean, it's not as if the Commonwealth is hemorrhaging jobs or anything, or that people are fleeing the state as fast as they can - what's the harm in yet another mandate making employment in the People's Republic a little more expensive, eh?
Much like the purchase of car insurance, the proposal would make the purchase of health insurance by those "who could afford" it mandatory - either through an employer or directly. Something called the "Commonwealth Care Health Insurance Program" would be set-up to help individuals purchase insurance on their own, with premiums and deductibles set on a sliding scale based upon income. There are clear incentives to purchasing insurance, and more than a few sticks should one chose not to.
So it's a total disaster. Right?
Certain to destroy the last bastion of ostensibly free-market medicine in the world. Right?
Well, I say that we should not be too hasty on that score.
Free-marketeers and libertarians are certainly going to bristle at the fundamental crux of this proposal, as they did Romney's original submission. But many of the aspects of this legislation can be found in proposals forwarded by people no one would confuse with left-wingers. And frankly, I think we conservatives dismiss out-of-hand proposals such as this at our great peril.
In reality, this is no more "socialized medicine" than mandatory car insurance is "socialized driving". A foot in the door? Perhaps. But that door is not really opened any further by this proposal.
Snark aside, there is a fair amount of good in this legislation - and a great deal that borrows against Governor Romney's vastly superior proposal. That could be why the Man who would be President seems to be pretty happy about this latest development:
Romney praised the legislation saying it will guarantee every Massachusetts resident will have health insurance using reforms to the marketplace rather than a big new government program.
"We are on track to do something historic, truly landmark, a once in a generation opportunity," said Romney, a possible candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
Just don't call it a "tax":
"It makes sense to expand this assessment to beyond those that just currently offer insurance," said Romney. "It's not a tax. It's not a broad-based program."
Well, if you say so Governor.
In all candor, of all the ideas in this roughly 150-page bill (and we all know there are likely more than a few Devils in those details) the only truly nutty one is the business assessment - which is almost certain to cost our struggling economy jobs in the aggregate. And while I am not really thrilled at the prospect of an individual mandate for health insurance, the fact of the matter is that I, you and everyone else who has insurance is already paying for the care of those who don't. So I feel that if my insurance premiums are going to help subsidize the costs for care of people who have the means to provide for their own healthcare but chose not to, then I say "Bring it on!" with regard to the individual mandate.
I just wonder what's going to happen when an uninsured person shows up in an ER after the July 1, 2007 cut-off date. My prediction - same as it ever was.
And while the idea of yet another employer mandate - the net result of which would be to drive the cost of doing business up at a time when so doing can only exacerbate our current problems - is indeed nutty, the fact is that it is far better than the broad-based payroll tax originally floated by the legislature.
All in all, this is probably not a bad bill - in fact, it's probably a pretty good one.
I just wish the legislature could have left their never-ending desire to jack-up the cost of doing business here at the door when they wrote it. But on balance, it's really not such a stupid idea after all.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Pot. Kettle. Margery Eagan.
Now I will admit when I first heard the tape-recorded statements of recently released CSM reporter Jill Carroll - praising "the mujahideen" in Iraq and parroting the standard BushLied™ meme - I was pissed. I was ready to call for the young lady's head on a plate, I thought she was a traitor and I looked forward to a good old-fashioned lynching were she to ever stray far from deep-blue New England and away from this cesspool of Bush Derangement Syndrome.
But something didn't add up. While it was relatively easy for me to believe that Carroll was just another media leftie - more than happy to sacrifice her journalistic "integrity" to become the next Cindy Sheehan - it didn't seem to fit. I mean, nothing about her translator being killed, nothing that jived with her previous tapes where she - like any of us would - looked scared to death.
What was not clear to me from reading the press reports at the time was that she was still, for all intents and purposes, in captivity when she made that video - a tape she has subsequently disavowed - quickly and completely, to her great credit (h/t to Aaron).
So, I feel somewhat sheepish for not catching the contradictions a little quicker, and a little bad for my initial reactions to the Carroll tape. In that situation, you say what you need to say to survive another day - period - and I apologize to Ms. Carroll for my unkind thoughts.
Enter, stage left, Ms. Eagan.
As usual, you don't have to get far past the title:
Carroll critics big on ignorance, short on courageto know just where this is going.
After calling-out (as prrof of her thesis, mind you) some random samples (3, in total) of bloggers and emailers who apparently weren't willing to, as I did, think before they blogged, we were then treated to these, in succession:
We know the left demonizes Bush: He’s a moronic oil baron. And the right demonizes Hillary: She’s a satanic socialist.
OK, so demonization is just fine - I suppose - if you're a public official.
But what’s with demonizing, without any facts, a woman they saw over and over again on TV, weeping and pleading for her life?
They screwed-up - and will, hopefully sooner rather than later - man-up and admit to it.
But then Ms. Eagan cannot resist the urge to demonstrate why she is the Pot to the hair-triggered bloggers Kettles:
I say what we’re dealing with here is a bunch of cowards and chickenhawks, the sorts who’d die of fright were they forced to endure for one day what Jill Carroll endured for 82.
And you say this based on what, precisely?
Ignorant of all the facts much?
Jumping to conclusions much?
And who the heck are these people you're calling out and using to tar the entire right-blogland as chickenhawks? A couple of simple AltaVista searches pulls-up precisely nothing related.
Here's what I say, Margery - you made them up. Disprove.
If they had any courage at all, they’d be lining up to apologize, en masse, today, now that Carroll herself has spoken. But don’t bet the ranch.
Well, perhaps your imaginary friends are doing just this. Why don't you go ask them.
So let's recap - you have demonstrated precisely the same level of ignorance toward certain people, whom preliminary evidence indicates you've made up out of whole cloth, you have spilt valuable ink and wasted valuable column-space claiming were assailing Jill Carroll. And you managed to throw-in a ChickenHawk™ to boot!
Drop dead, Margery.