By Doug Porter
I was just reading the UT-San Diego’s editorial page today, something not recommended for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.
Leading the inane parade of profoundly partisan digestational by-products today is another in this week’s ObamaScare is coming missives. We’re being schooled this week on “the broken promises that President Barack Obama used to sell the Affordable Care Act”.
Did you know that the President and his liberal/socialist cabal are going to take away your health insurance right after they grab your guns? It must be true; look what happened in Massachusetts when essentially the same plan was enacted…
From the New York Times (May, 2011):
Like the federal reform law, Massachusetts’s plan required people to buy insurance and employers to offer it or pay a fee. It expanded Medicaid for the poor and set up insurance exchanges where people could buy individual policies, with subsidies for those with modest incomes.
Since reform was enacted, the state has achieved its goal of providing near-universal coverage: 98 percent of all residents were insured last year. That has come with minimal fiscal strain. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a nonpartisan fiscal monitoring group, estimated that the reforms cost the state $350 million in fiscal year 2010, a little more than 1 percent of the state budget.
Oops.. Never mind. (Yes, I know I’m simplifying this, but the point stands: the UT editorial is full of it.)
Item number two at today’s toxic waste buffet would be the decision of one-time GOPer Nathan Fletcher to complete his political metamorphism by declaring his allegiance to the Democratic Party.
Fletcher’s sin, so sayeth the UT’s seers, is opportunism.
OMG OMG OMG! The man realized he was about to get trapped in an ideological dead end by staying with the GOP and opted to turn away. That’s like calling somebody an opportunist for stepping on the brakes when they see a car stopped in front of them.
The UT gilds the lily by adding an editorial cartoon featuring a darker-than-I-remember version of Fletcher who vaguely reminds me of…. Obama, the great satan.
Of course, Nathan Fletcher is an opportunist; an opportunist smart enough not to go off the cliff of political oblivion with the rest of the California GOP.
Where Does the Twerking Come In?
For those who may have existed in an alternative reality for the past few days, let me bring you up to speed by saying that “Twerking” has entered the local lexicon because some local high school students got suspended for making a video about dirty dancing.
On school time. Using school equipment. At a mostly white high suburban school. And the story has gone viral, attracting both the ‘dirty old men’ and the ‘church lady’ audiences. It’s a true crossover.
Today’s education coverage at UT-San Diego keeps us in the loop by letting us know those students are appealing their punishment. And we incidentally learn that:
UT’s first article posted online about the incident on Wednesday garnered at least 260,000 views on the newspaper website, making it the most popular story of the year.
Well, that settles it then. The obvious future for UT-San Diego’s attempts to mold public opinion must include some for of dirty dancing. Maybe they could bring back the ‘dirty boogie’, a dance from my high school days that existed only because we knew it was banned at school dances. Hopefully, ‘Papa’ Doug Manchester won’t feel the need to grind his hips on YouTube as lectures us about impending socialism.
Am I an opportunist for using ‘Twerking’ in my headline today? You betcha.
The Mayor on Drugs (and Roger Hedgecock)
Hizzoner was quick to respond to yesterday’s unanimous California Supreme Court decision giving local governments to zone medical marijuana dispensaries of out existence. From the Daily Transcript (with a bonus silver lining to the decision):
Filner said he is disappointed with the ruling, but he is still determined to pass some form of legislation to allow their operation in San Diego.
“Although this ruling does a disservice to those who need compassionate care through the use of medical marijuana, it does not hinder our aim to provide regulated access to medical marijuana,” he said.
San Diego attorney Lance Rogers, whose clients include medical marijuana dispensaries, said the ruling could actually be a good thing for medical marijuana proponents.
“It establishes the rule of law that a city can pass an ordinance regulating medical marijuana,” he said. “It establishes the fact that dispensaries are a legally recognizable entity and exist under California law and cities can regulate them. There should be no additional argument that a city is not able to pass regulation.”
Pot, Meet Kettle
Mayor Filner appeared on KPBS Midday Edition on Monday and responded to an observation made on an earlier broadcast by former Mayor-turned pundit Roger Hancock, who asserted that Filner’s career in Washington might make him more contentious than other mayors.
“The appearances that this new mayor is a much more partisan person because he’s had a history of many years of the Congress, and Congress is a very partisan place. Bringing that into San Diego is a foreign element and even Democrats on the council, I think kind of record little that some of the stuff that went on, the kind of combativeness that may be is what Mayor Filner is anyway but also that’s coming out of the experience he’s had it Congress.”
“For Roger Hedgecock to call somebody partisan is rather strange. I mean, he’s probably the most partisan extreme guy on the radio today. So I’m not sure what he’s contributing to the debate.”
Sometimes this stuff just writes itself…
Sex and the Services
The issues surrounding rape and assaults in the military continue to make headlines, starting with an Associated Press story this morning that Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee saying an upcoming Pentagon report estimates, on average, there are more than 70 sexual assaults involving military personnel every day.
The Pentagon report says that the number of sexual assaults reported by members of the military rose from 3,192 to 3,374 in 2012, while the department estimates that as many as 26,000 service members were assaulted, based on anonymous surveys, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the report.
As if to add insult to injury, Levin’s disclosure wasn’t even the biggest newsmaker. That honor goes to Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski. From Stars & Stripes:
The chief of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention and response branch was arrested this weekend and charged with sexual battery.
Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, of Arlington, Va., was arrested Sunday morning, according to the Arlington police. He’s accused of approaching a woman in a parking lot and grabbing her breasts and buttocks, according to the crime report.
Krusinski heads up the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention and response branch, an Air Force spokeswoman confirmed.
I guessing that Krusinki’s victim fought back.
The Department of Defense, which originally planned on hiring 829 sexual assault response coordinators to combat the epidemic of rape in the military, says recruitment for some positions will be put on hold due to the sequester.
Damn Facts Ruin Yet Another Right Wing Analysis
If you haven’t read Paul Krugman’s takedown of the underlying premises for the GOP’s austerity program, “The Chutzpah Caucus”, you should. Here’s the money quote:
At this point the economic case for austerity — for slashing government spending even in the face of a weak economy — has collapsed. Claims that spending cuts would actually boost employment by promoting confidence have fallen apart. Claims that there is some kind of red line of debt that countries dare not cross have turned out to rest on fuzzy and to some extent just plain erroneous math. Predictions of fiscal crisis keep not coming true; predictions of disaster from harsh austerity policies have proved all too accurate.
Krugman ends this frontal assault on conservative orthodoxy by defining ‘Chutzpah’ for us:
To me, it sounds like a fiscal version of the classic definition of chutzpah — namely, killing your parents, then demanding sympathy because you’re an orphan.
And Another One…
Here’s the latest in fact-challenged ‘studies’, this one put forth as a right-wing argument against immigration reform. From the Washington Post op-ed authored by Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint and senior research fellow Robert Rector:
An exhaustive study by the Heritage Foundation has found that after amnesty, current unlawful immigrants would receive $9.4 trillion in government benefits and services and pay more than $3 trillion in taxes over their lifetimes. That leaves a net fiscal deficit (benefits minus taxes) of $6.3 trillion. That deficit would have to be financed by increasing the government debt or raising taxes on U.S.citizens.
Let’s back off for just a second here and look at the big picture, so this ‘study’ has context. From the New York Times:
Republican opponents of legislation to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws are readying an offensive intended to hijack the newly released bill as the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday begins a review that will offer the clearest sign yet of how difficult a path the legislation faces.
With the committee expected to spend at least three weeks on the legislation, Republican critics could offer hundreds of amendments to try to reshape the overhaul…
So the Heritage study provides the supposedly fiscal argument for conservatives who don’t want to appear racist to hide behind. Except that the immigration issue has divided the right. The loudest complaints about the study’s shortcoming came from fellow conservatives. From the Washington Post:
In what was almost certainly an unprecedented press call, top fiscal conservatives from Americans for Tax Reform, the Cato Institute, the Kemp Foundation and the American Action Network took what had once been the premier conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, to the woodshed for its immigration report that sees trillions in cost and no benefits from immigration reform.
So who is this ‘research fellow’ Rector, anyway? Remember when Politifact gave a ‘Pants on Fire’ fact check to the Romney campaign’s TV commercial claiming President Obama gutted the welfare laws? That campaign was based on Rector’s research. From Mother Jones:
Rector has made controversial and dubious claims on the issues of poverty and economics for decades. In 1995, for instance, he said to a Washington Post reporter: “Is poverty harmful for childhood? I think not.”
How bad was this immigration study? Let’s go to Wonkblog for a succinct answer:
The most bizarre portion of the Rector and Richwine study is how they construct their counterfactual for what would happen absent reform. They seem to assume that a huge number of immigrants would just…leave. On their own. No, for real, this is what the paper says. “If one assumes that under current law, most unlawful immigrants will return to their country of origin around age 55, the lifetime fiscal costs of unlawful immigrants under current law are comparatively low: only around $1 trillion,” they write. Why would someone assume that?
Oh, wait. Wasn’t that what Romney called ‘self deportation’?
On This Day: 1824 – Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony was performed for the first time. 1945 – Baseball owner Branch Rickey announced the organization of the United States Negro Baseball League. There were 6 teams. 1975 – President Ford declared an end to the Vietnam War.
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas toDougPorter@