By Doug Porter
For the twelve days of Christmas I give you: The madness of 2013, one month at a time-A month by month recap of stories that appeared in the Starting Line last year. Today: January
#1 Elections have consequences:
Republican activist Ryan Trabuco took to the interwebs yesterday to announce his decision to re-register as “no party preference”. It’s not that he likes Democrats, it’s just that he can’t stand his old party:
I admit, I said for a long time that wild horses couldn’t drag me from my party — and they didn’t. The selfish behavior of those who would rather bring our country to its’ knees, rather than face the challenges ahead of us have drug the party away from me. The constant kowtowing to the Tea Party and like-minded ideologues have damaged the brand, the mission, and the spirit of the Republican Party.
Look at California. The Republican Party, here, is a mess. Enough said.
In San Diego, it’s not nearly as bad but there’s problems here as well. There’s nothing wrong with good-natured, well-intentioned, and much-needed government reforms, but there is a significant problem when you allow a single elected official — an emotional and personality equivalent to Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride — to dictate the focus of the party, and whether you are or aren’t welcome within the apparatus.
Gosh, I wonder who he was talking about.
#2 -Darrell Issa is Wrong for the First Time in 2013: Hating on Hurricane Sandy Victims
Our local daily, in its quest to make all things Democratic look bad, picked up on the gospel of Rep. Darrell Issa with an editorial today decrying the ‘pork laden’ bill before the House that’s supposed to provide aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Speaker John Boehner’s refusal to bring the matter up for a vote prior to the close of the session sparked a firestorm among politicos from both parties.
The editorial scribes at UT-SD proceed to provide a grocery list of egregious add-ons supposedly in the bill to prove their point:
For years, the president has said that spending has to be brought in line with available revenue. But instead of laying out the options for the public and starting a needed national debate on how to change our course, Obama has chosen to pretend that the crisis could be resolved if only rich people paid more in taxes.
The president got higher taxes on the rich in the fiscal cliff showdown. Now will he stop the pretending and finally seek to limit federal spending? Unfortunately, given Obama’s embrace of Reid’s relief-bill porkfest, it’s impossible to be optimistic.
And then the UT-San Diego editorial proceeds to tell us that any disaster relief efforts should be paid for ‘with matching cuts in existing federal spending to keep down the deficit’. Presumably, according to the gospel of Manchester’s minions, these matching cuts would be taken from either Medicare or Social Security and not, God-forbid, the defense budget or government support for oil companies.
There’s only one small problem with the editorial. The bill in question isn’t before the House of Representatives. The House split Sandy relief into two bills, one for short term aid (passed today) and another (to be voted on January 15th) with money for long-term projects.
Let’s quote New York’s GOP Congressman Peter King:
First of all, with all due respect, Darrell Issa is 1,000 percent wrong. There is absolutely no pork in the bill. There were some items that were added in the senate involving Alaska, which is less than one percent of the bill. Even though it’s only one percent of the bill, every one of those items was removed from the House bill and I wish Darrell Issa had learned that and looked into that before he went public and said that my constituents should not get their homes rebuilt, should not have the waste management plants rebuild, that Gov. [Chris] Christie should not be given the opportunity to rebuild New Jersey and Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo in New York.
Facts. Dammed inconvenient, aren’t they?
#3 The UT-San Diego Fears the Stampede Out of California (Will the last person out turn out the lights?)
Having predicted doom and gloom should Democrats triumph in the November elections, Doug Manchester’s loyal minions at UT-San Diego set out to prove their case on Sunday with a front page “news” story by Christopher Cadelago and Paul Sisson about the terrible tax burdens threatening the very existence of California’s one percenters.
It doesn’t take but six sentences before the gospels of fear and falsehoods appear, disguised as real reporting.
“The increase in an already-high tax rate is a strong disincentive for people to live and work in California. I have friends who have already left for Florida and for other states that either don’t have personal income tax or that have ones that are far lower than California’s,” said Robert J. Shillman of Rancho Santa Fe, the chairman and chief culture officer at Cognex Corp., which designs and markets machine vision and industrial ID systems.
“The reason this is happening is very clear: There are more ‘takers’ than ‘makers’ in our society, and this is leading directly to the decline of free enterprise and capitalism, and this will inevitably lead to the decline in the standard of living … not only in California, but also in the entire country.”
Downplayed throughout the story are compelling studies by actual researchers suggesting that taxes are not driving millionaires and their “job creating’ businesses from California. There’s the study (mentioned at the very end) by Dr. Charles Varner and Dr. Cristobal Young of the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality that used California income tax records to track people as they moved found little connection between top marginal tax rates the number of millionaires residing in the state. In fact, it seems as though divorce seems to be a much more important factor. Money quote:
There is a strong out-migration effect for high-income earners who become divorced. In the year of divorce, the migration rate more than doubles, and remains slightly elevated for two years after the event. This shows that there are circumstances that do generate millionaire migration. The tax policy changes examined in this report are very modest compared to the life impact of martial dissolution.
There’s also no mention in the UT-San Diego story about the effect that the recent re-alignment of season ticket prices for the Chargers will have on this area’s wealthy. Fees for the pricier seats increased while two thirds of the stadium (seats for the non-wealthy) either decreased or stayed the same in price. If that’s not socialism, I don’t know what is.
Where is the outrage?
#4 Gun Appreciation Day Goes Off with a Bang
The Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, two “pro-gun” groups, are sponsoring “Gun Appreciation Day” on the same weekend as President Obama’s inauguration. From the Washington Post:
The group is emulating the anti-gay marriage activists who made the Christian fast food chain Chick-fil-A into a national conservative cause with “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day.”
The group is asking supporters to turn out in droves at gun stores, gun counters, gun shows, and gun ranges to protest what they see as government overreach in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings.
Postscript: Not so many people showed up in DC. But five people were accidentally shot at gun shows in North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana that day.
#5 Haters Gonna Hate –Liberals Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Teach Our Kids
Like many Americans, news of children being killed at an elementary school, was overwhelming for retired teacher Roseanne Holliday a resident of Del Mar. She wanted to do something, anything, to make sure a tragedy like the Sandy Hook shootings never happened again.
After several days of thinking it over, she posted a sign on her property with the message “Stop Del Mar Gun Show and Sale”, and included her email address. Feedback from that sign led to a meeting with over 50 people and launching of a petition urging the Del Mar Fairgrounds to drop its involvement with the Crossroads of the West Gun Show.
Holliday’s petition drive garnered stories on local TV stations. It was the symbolic act of one person reviled by the violence she saw in Connecticut. It will be presented to the fairground board of directors meeting this afternoon. The Del Mar City Council will hear about the petition, as will the governor. And that will most likely be the end of it.
But in wingnut land, the Second Amendment trumps the First Amendment every time. And personal attacks are in order for any who dare question their orthodoxy. Consider these comments (there are plenty more), posted on the KGTV10 News webpage after their coverage of Ms. Holliday’s petition:
IndyStaszak- lady, go crawl under a rock and die…..
TomApplegate- You would think that a school teacher would have knowledge of past history, of countries that applied gun control, that lead to confiscation. And that lead to citizens being slaughtered by there own governments. She is a example of why liberals shouldn’t be allowed to teach our kids. I’m glad she’s retired.
# 6 Manchester’s Just Used to Getting his Way
…I would be remiss not to mention the most excellent coverage last week in the SDCityBeat, where columnist John Lamb passed along a story the Mayor Filner shared with his audience at the Hillcrest Town Council. It seems as though the UT’s Publisher and CEO tried to meet with Filner to ask him to call off the City’s lawsuit filed against Doug Manchester’s Grand Del Mar resort over code-compliance violations. Money quote:
Here’s why he wanted to meet with me. These are the guys who have opposed me for, what, 30 years? These are the guys who think they run the city. He has, in about three or four real big cases, violated zoning and code stuff. He put a heliport on one of his hotels. They did a few things which code enforcement found out and is trying to report. And up at his Del Mar place, he put in stables and horse stuff without any permits. That’s what they’re used to doing. So somehow code enforcement found out about the stables up there, and they ordered him to stop operations. He didn’t stop. He waited for the election, he calls me up, but when they come and see me, here’s what they want to do. They want me to intervene and stop the code enforcement. They did not close up their operation. They just assumed that they could keep going.
Now I wouldn’t interfere with code enforcement for a friend, let alone the U-T. But the incredible arrogance that they just have to call up the mayor, and they’re going to stop enforcement of a law which everybody has to abide by, therefore health and safety—I mean they violated all kinds of health and safety codes. Oh, and here’s the reason they gave that I should intervene—the lady who is running the stables is a Hispanic woman who has no other job. So I’m supposed to intervene. Not only do they have billions of dollars that they can give her a job—so find her a place to do something—but why are you using that on me? So we called code enforcement and said go to work faster.
It’s just a little sliver of the way… that they’re used to around here. They call people up and expect favors. It’s little things, it’s big things, it’s major things, it’s minor things. They’re just used to getting their way.
#7 Huffpo Goes for the Sideboob
Researcher and activist Chip Berlet is no wild haired conspiracy theorist. I’ve known him and his research into the dark side of the American psyche for nearly 40 years. Indeed, what sets Berlet apart from the maddening crowd is his stubborn insistence on letting the facts tell the story.
Berlet has contributed articles to Huffington Post on a regular basis since 2008.
His profile and listing of articles on HuffPo’s index runs over 10 pages long. So when I saw the following message on Facebook recently, I started to wonder just what’s going on:
Huffington Post refuses to post my blog entries on their site and refuse to tell me why. It’s been going on for months.
Normally I write this sort of stuff off as part of being a freelancer. I used to be a freelance journalist. Now I am a freelance “content provider.” It’s not like Huffpost pays me, but they do still make money off my name, which is what irritates me. Not a week goes by that I don’t get an automated e-mail from Huffpost alerting me to another person “fanning” my work.
What work? Huffpost owns the rights to my old posts, which they refuse to take down, but they refuse to post my new blog entries.
I wondered if, perhaps, Berlet had gone off the deep end in his old age (he’s a year older than I am). So I went and read two of his most posts; one tackling Survivalism, Apocalyptic Aggression, and Violence, another on the ridiculous claims by the tin-foil hat set about the Newtown shootings. It was solid stuff; good analysis on top of a solid factual foundation.
Then I went and glanced at the of Huffington Post. In addition to obvious examples of “sponsored posts”, i.e., stuff put there posing as news to get you to buy something at the end of the day, the bottom feeding kinds of headlines being displayed are nothing short of astonishing. It’s like reading a combination of the bygone tabloid Weekly World News and the tawdriest gossip website imaginable.
Just look at these headlines:
EEK! Taylor Swift’s Red Carpet Wardrobe Malfunction
5 Things A Man NEVER Thinks When He Sees You Naked
Vanessa Hudgens Flaunts Cleavage In Plunging Dress
NSFW PHOTOS: eBay User Accidentally Posts Naked Pic
So, in case you haven’t noticed, I’d say it’s safe to assume that Huffpo’s now excluding actual content for “web traffic” and “internet voyeurism”. More people need to speak up about this crap. Or just stop going there.
#8 The Best Tweet of the Inauguration Weekend
Nice. During the swearing-in, the GOP will observe a Moment of Not Introducing Bill To Repeal Obamacare.
— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) January 20, 2013
#9 Obama Comes Out of the Closet
I certainly didn’t anticipate that the President would chose his second Inaugural Address to give what was perhaps the most important gay-rights speech in American history. These speeches are, by their definition, important and defining occasions, when Presidents set the tone and direction for the coming four years. President Obama used the occasion to make the first direct reference to gay-rights in an Inaugural Address, and he did so with a power and forthrightness we have not heard before, even from him. From The New Yorker:
About two-thirds of the way into the speech, Obama referred to Stonewall, a gay bar where, in 1969, a police raid provoked a riot, in the same sentence as Seneca Falls and Selma—thus comparing the women’s and African-American civil-rights movements to the gay-rights struggle. Had he stopped there, it would have been historic—particularly coming from the first African-American President—but, in keeping with the tradition of politicians who refer to gay-rights obliquely or with code words, stopping short of directness.
The President continued:
Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law—for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
#10 Nuts on a Roll: Roger Hedgecock & Ted Nugent
Rocker Ted Nugent’s off-the-wall commentary has landed him in hot water before, and the bitterness of his side losing the fall elections has inspired still more invective. From Raw Story:
Speaking to fans during an NBC-sponsored gun show, Nugent said that Obama “is attempting to re-implement the tyranny of King George that we escaped from in 1776,” adding: “If you want another Concord bridge, I’ve got some buddies.”
The comment was a reference to the Battle of Concord, in which a British soldier broke a standoff and fired upon assembled American militiamen, in what later became known as “the shot heard around the world” that helped launch the Revolutionary War.
He added that Obama “hires, appoints and associates with communists,” and that he’s “an evil, dangerous man who hates America and hates freedom. And we need to fix this as soon as possible.”
Then we have local commentator Roger Hedgecock, the one-time San Diego Mayor forced out of office by felony charges, who told his radio audience last month President Obama “has switched sides on the war on terror.” Full text from WCWatch:
Barack Obama has switched sides in the war on terror. He is, with your money, or with your great grandchildren’s money, arming our enemies in Libya, in Egypt, in Syria, and he is making it impossible for us to defeat our enemies in Afghanistan…”
A minute later: “This president has switched sides. Now, it may be–according to the email I got–that he was never on our side, but at least now, I can tell you, that the evidence is overwhelming.”
#11 Beer Me! We Are Number One!
Our fair city finally got national recognition for what it does well yesterday when a writer who actually drinks beer put San Diego at the top of a “Non Fiction” list of the best beer towns in America. And our new mayor got schooled yesterday in what it really takes to be a game changer when it comes to medical marijuana.
Columnist Steve Body, who pens The Pour Fool column for Seattlepi.com did a little research into the business of compiling best beer cities and was shocked to discover that even big time media outlets weren’t using any sources with backgrounds in the field.
San Diego is simply the best brewing city in America.
#12 Gabby Giffords Says A Few Words, Post Sandy Hook
The national conversation over gun regulations continues to dominate the news cycle. The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings yesterday saw astronaut Mark Kelly directly confronting the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre over the shooting of his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Giffords (D-Ariz.) was the first witness called yesterday, and at the end of the day it was her seventy two word statement that still echoed in the halls of Congress:
Speaking is difficult but I need to say something important.
Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying – too many children. We must do something.
It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be Courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you.
Tomorrow: February’s Greatest Hits from The Starting Line
On This Day: 1776 – Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, NJ. 1818 – “Silent Night” was performed for the first time, at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorff, Austria.
1868 – U.S. President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to all persons involved in the Southern rebellion that resulted in the Civil War.
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