By Doug Porter
Once again, Vista’s GOP Congressman Darrell Issa is proving to the country that he’d rather be on the evening news than actually do any work in Washington DC.
Issa is so eager to get to the bottom of the Healthcare.gov “scandal” that he’s willing to stop the people working to fix it so he can grab a few headlines. After all, he’s got to do something in light of his Benghazi and IRS investigations going nowhere.
This week he wants answers directly from White House Chief of Technology Todd Park, who already responded positively to an earlier request to appear, and he wants them Now.
From MSNBC’s Steven Benen::
For reasons no one has been able to explain, Issa has said that’s not good enough. Late Friday, the far-right committee chairman subpoenaed Park, insisting that he stop working on fixing the website and start talking to lawmakers about why the website isn’t working. If that seems nonsensical on its face, welcome to the world of House Republican policymaking.
Indeed, this is the first time in quite a while that I can think of a committee reaching out to a potential witness, the witness agreeing to testify, and then having the committee subpoena him anyway, just for the sake of doing so.
A group tech experts familiar with Park’s responsibilities and expertise has launched a petition site called Let Todd Work. Here’s the text of their petition:
On the evening of November 8th, Todd Park was subpoenaed by Congressman Darrell Issa to testify in front of Congress about whether or not Healthcare.gov was prepared on launch day. Now, instead of continuing to fix Healthcare.gov (a mess he did not make), Mr. Park has to spend his hours preparing for his testimony.
In his career, Park created and launched the first Health Data Initiative, supported and promoted the wonderful Blue Button Initiative, and created the Presidential Innovation Fellowship, a program that’s brought innovation to government and saved taxpayers millions of dollars.
Mr. Park is a fantastic public servant, who cares about making government more effective and accountable, just like Mr. Issa. We hope that they can work together on solving the policies that enabled healthcare.gov to fail in the first place, by working with the Senate for passage of Issa’s own bill, the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act.
No matter what side of the aisle you sit on, Todd is one of the good guys. Let him do his job.
Last week Issa was chastised by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee for selectively leaking misinformation about HealthCare.gov in an effort to portray administration officials as misleading the public about the implementation of Obamacare.
The Congressman from Vista did his Joe McCarthy imitation on Fox News, figuratively waving a stack of documents claiming he had proof contractors working on Healthcare.gov believed that the site could only handle 1,100 users before launch.
It was left up to ranking committee Democrat Ellijah Cummings to reveal that Issa was actually speaking about early testing that occurred using a small sample.
From Think Progress:
The estimates for the full [Obamacare] website environment were considerably higher,” Cummings writes, adding, “[I]t is reckless and highly irresponsible to make unsubstantiated public allegations by taking information out of context, especially when the Committee has information in its possession that directly contradicts these unfounded allegations.”
Doom and Gloom in the Future for the California GOP
The latest polling from the University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times offers a big pile of evidence suggesting the Republican Party’s traditional base is withering away.
The Grand Old Party faces big challenges within virtually all of the emergent demographics in California. Democrats now hold a 54% to 14% edge in party registrations among minorities in the state.
A 2011 Brookings Institute study confirmed census data showing whites as a minority in the Golden State, with 18 of the 26 metropolitan areas dominated by minorities, concluding : “Non-whites and Hispanics accounted for 98 percent of population growth in large metro areas from 2000 to 2010.”
From the Los Angeles Times story:
The collision between ethnicity and age is even more lethal. Six in 10 white voters are over 50, making them prized in the present but not dependable in future decades. The reverse is true for Latinos, 64% of whom are age 49 or younger. Overall, among all voters, 35% of those 50 and over are Republicans; of those younger, only 23% were.
Already those younger and minority voters — 38% of the voter pool — are propping up Democrats in California. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has a positive job approval rating of 55% overall. Among white voters the rating is 51%. Among black voters, it is 61%, Among Latinos, it is 67%.
Other poll findings suggest no end to that imbalance. Asked their political ideology, 52% of those ages 49 and younger describe themselves as liberal, to 40% who say conservative. That is close to the opposite of those over 50, only 47% of whom say they are liberal to 58% conservative.
Conservative Coalition Seeks Referendum to Block Transgender Law
Republican strategist Frank Schubert’s latest crusade against the LGBT community has crossed its first hurdle. Proponents of a referendum aimed at blocking a state law giving transgender students permission to use facilities that match their orientation announced this weekend that they’ve turned in 620,000 signatures to the California Secretary of State.
Should 505,000 of those signatures prove to be valid , the law will not take effect as scheduled at the first of the year and will go on the November 2014 ballot. The result could be an election fight reminiscent of Proposition 8, the 2008 constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex marriage until federal courts overturned it.
Schubert, who led the effort to ban same sex marriage in California, is working with a coalition calling itself Privacy for All Students. Signatures for the referendum were collected by socially conservative church congregations around the state, who’ve stoked fears the new law would expose young people, particularly girls, to youthful sex offenders.
The law in question, AB1266 was sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this year It makes California the first state in the nation to mandate that schools allow transgender students to use services that match their gender orientation. That means transgender students would have a choice of playing either on boys or girls sports teams and could use the restrooms and locker rooms with which they are most comfortable.
The law matches policies instituted by Los Angeles schools over a decade ago.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
“We are now going to have another Prop. 8 fight on our hands,” Charles Moran, head of the California Log Cabin Republicans, said at the state GOP convention in August.
Moran said the transgender-student law is “bad legislation,” because Republican lawmakers were never consulted to help develop a bill that would have been more palatable to conservatives.
Now, he said, the fear is that it could ramp up some of the same antigay rhetoric that during the Prop. 8 battle equated “gay men and child molesters.”
Fighting for Your Right to Eat Donuts
In case you missed it, the Food and Drug Administration has decided to lower the boom on transfats, something California did back in 2008.
GOP stud Rand Paul has already taken the lead position in the fight against this latest nanny-state edict, declaring “They’re coming after your doughnuts!” during a speech in South Carolina yesterday.
From New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait:
They are not, in fact, coming after your doughnuts. Trans fats are not essential to make doughnuts or, really, anything. Some restaurants still use trans fats because, even though they’re incredibly bad for you, they’re longer-lasting and slightly cheaper than other oils, and very few customers would ever know the difference. But Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme, and many others have already eliminated trans fats, and customers have detected no difference in taste. (The libertarian magazine Reason hyperbolically warned in a headline, “Start Hoarding Donuts,” which possibly caught Paul’s eye, though the item itself acknowledges that nothing remotely like a doughnut ban is taking place.)
The doughnut ban is just the latest assault on freedom in the imaginary world in which Rand Paul spends most of his time. In this world, the IRS has hired 16,000 new IRS agents to enforce Obamacare, Obama is giving away free phones, Medicaid is bankrupting Kentucky hospitals, and all sorts of other terrible things that aren’t actually happening are happening.
The Liberal Racist at the Washington Post
I remember the times when Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen’s heart bled on domestic political issues. (Not so much on the foreign policy stuff, however)
But Cohen obviously lost touch with the times, as demonstrated by this bit of garbage in the context of a column today trying explain the mysteries of modern day Republicanism. (Emphasis mine)
Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde.
People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.
According to recent polling on the subject of interracial marriage, those “conventional views” Cohen’s talking about represent
14% 13% of the population.
A Sports Columnist Out of Touch…
I’ve been biting my tongue for three days now, ever since I read UT-San Diego’s Nick Canepa on Saturday, writing about the revelations coming out of the Miami Dolphins football organization about the behavior of Richie Incognito:
What’s the big story here? This is the NFL, not Where’s Waldo. Lord knows how many times this sort of thing has happened. The locker room is a hard place. So Incognito is a bully? So Martin is a wimp? Jonathan is Stanford-educated. Did he actually, truly believe Incognito was going to waterboard him?
My best guess is that Martin doesn’t want to play football anymore and this is an easy way out. Incognito, I’m sure, was an idiot before all this happened, so his résumé made him the perfect guy for the hit job.
I’ve been around football players more than half my life. This is a pimple on Jonathan Martin’s butt cheek. There is no story here. Go away. Shoo. …
I’m guessing Canepa’s been listening to a little too much Rushbo lately. Or drinking some of that Papa Doug extra-special Kool-aid. That atiitude might have been okay back in the day when ‘men were men’ and ‘sheep were afraid’.
“Boys will be boys” doesn’t cut it anymore. Here’s ESPN’s Jason Whitlock with a more 21st century view:
Welcome to Incarceration Nation, where the mindset of the Miami Dolphins‘ locker room mirrors the mentality of a maximum-security prison yard and where a wide swath of America believes the nonviolent intellectual needs to adopt the tactics of the barbarian.
I don’t blame Jonathan Martin for walking away from the Dolphins and checking himself into a hospital seeking treatment for emotional distress. The cesspool of insanity that apparently is the Miami locker room would test the mental stability of any sane man. Martin, the offspring of Harvard grads, a 24-year-old trained at some of America‘s finest academic institutions, is a first-time offender callously thrown into an Attica prison cell with Incognito and Aaron Hernandez‘s BFF Mike Pouncey.
As to Canepa’s assertion that this isn’t a scandal, think again, bubba. From Huffpo:
While the futures of Martin and Incognito remain unclear as the NFL investigates the situation, they may not be the only two who are not back with the Dolphins. According to NFL Media columnist Michael Silver, Dolphins coach Joe Philbin and general manager Jeff Ireland may lose their jobs in the aftermath of the bullying scandal.
“Unlike that scandal (the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal), where ownership stood resolutely behind Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis, Jeff Ireland, the general manager, and head coach, Joe Philbin, in league circles, are not expected to survive this,” Silver said on NFL Network’s “NFL GameDay Morning,” via NFL.com. “Jeff Ireland already has the reputation in league circles for being a guy who ‘we can’t believe he still has his job.’ They’re 4-4, but there’s clearly a void here. Expect somebody to pay.”
The Dolphins lost to the 0-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers last night. And Incognito’s shirts are no longer being sold by the team’s website.
On This Day: 1892 – William “Pudge” Heffelfinger became the first professional football player when he was paid a $500 bonus for helping the Allegheny Athletic Association beat the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. 1940 – Walt Disney released “Fantasia.” 1987 – The American Medical Association issued a policy statement that said it was unethical for a doctor to refuse to treat someone solely because that person had AIDS or was HIV-positive.
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Andy Cohen says
As someone who has been around an NFL locker room, I can definitively tell you that Richie Incognito’s behavior is certainly not typical. Yes, rookies have practical jokes played on them. Yes, rookies get stuck paying huge dinner bills by their teammates, typically during training camp. Yes, the game of “credit card roulette” is alive and well (I myself, poor as I was/am, was once forced to participate….luckily I didn’t “win”). But these are grown men, football is their profession, and bullying to this extent is not normal. And none of the general managers I worked for would have told a player to “go punch him in the face.” It certainly would not have been tolerated by any of the head coaches I worked with.
Richie Incognito is a bad guy. He’s had that reputation since college. Oregon–Oregon!!!–dismissed him from the team before he ever had a chance to suit up for the Ducks, and after Nebraska–Nebraska!!!–had already dismissed him from their program. Unfortunately, in the NFL athletic talent more often than not takes precedence over personality defects, and Incognito happens to be a pretty good football player. That fact, however, should not excuse his personal conduct.
patty jones says
Sniff sniff – locker room smells.
Andy Cohen says
YOU don’t know……(minor inside joke w/former coworker)