The Watering Hole – Saturday, June 30, 2012 – GOP Is Acting Out, Again

Pity the poor Republicans. They ranted and raved since the day President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law and swore it was an unconstitutional power grab by the already-bloated federal government, and that gay people shouldn’t be allowed to marry each other. Oh, and that abortion you wanted? Sorry, but they have about eleven hundred reasons why you shouldn’t plan on going through with it. At least, not today. But Obamacare is unconstitutional! Well, funny thing, our nation’s ultimate authority on what is and isn’t constitutional determined that, yes, indeed, Obamacare is constitutional. (Here’s a way to see the decision itself, as well as a neat word cloud of the decision.) It appears the only thing the law got wrong was on threatening states with losing their Medicaid if they didn’t comply, or something like that. Oh, and the administration’s legal rationale for why the PPACA was constitutional was wrong, too. But Chief Justice of the United States (that’s his actual title, BTW. Did you – well, all but one of you – know that? ;)) John Roberts found a way around that and said something could be collected as a tax and not under the authority of the Commerce Clause. I don’t know, I’m not trained in understanding all this legalese. All I know is that the Roberts Court just handed the Republicans a major ass-whoopin’, and they’re going all nuts saying they won’t implement the law (even though they have to), and we still think it’s unconstitutional, so we’ll just nullify it (Hello, Civil War II). And now they’re going to take a break from bashing voting citizens who are gay and/or have vaginas and repeal the entire law! Of course that’s just theater because we know perfectly well a repeal won’t pass the Democratic Senate, so why do it? I’ll tell you why. Because the Republican Party is hell-bent and determined to prove to you that government just doesn’t work, and they’ll achieve that by doing the worst possible job they can.

So, what else is on your mind? You can tell us. We’re complete strangers that you’ll probably never meet in your life. What could possibly go wrong? ;)

This is our daily open thread — comment on anything you want!

Friday Night Music: Under the Radar, and Way Under the Radar

In my first post I told you that I admired talented musicians whose devotion to their craft outweighs their quest for fame and riches. The Wiyos, named after an 1880’s street gang in New York City facetiously refer to themselves as ‘the next ragtime, jug band, minstrel supergroup’. Cats and I have seen them play several times, when they venture out of their Brooklyn digs to perform elsewhere. You don’t often come across washboard players as talented as Michael Farkas.

Every major city has a ‘hot club’ band, playing the Django Reinhardt inspired hot jazz out of Quintette du Hot Club de France. Paired with Stephane Grapelli, this formative group played some of the most original jazz of the era from the French gypsy tradition. Le Hot Club de ma Rue toil in and around Montréal. I almost got them to play at a Meals on Wheels fundraiser when I was director in Pottstown, PA. One of my staff spoke French, but a long delay prevented us from moving forward. In any case, they are pretty damn good.

The Watering Hole, Thursday, June 28th, 2012: Decisions, Decisions

On this, the day on which the Supreme Court is supposed to announce their decision regarding the individual mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), I offer first a few articles from Wednesday’s Washington Post:

In the first article, John Boehner issues a typical lugubrious pronoucement, and Eric Cantor chimes in, too:

“We’ve made it pretty clear and I’ll make it clear one more time: If the court does not strike down the entire law, the House will move to repeal what’s left of it,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told reporters Wednesday morning. “‘Obamacare’ is driving up the cost of health care and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) added that the health law “was a mistake. We would like to see the kind of health care that will allow patients to make decisions, not bureaucrats here in Washington.”
[Yes, the kind of health care that will allow patients to make decisions, like whether they should get that needed prescription, or buy food. Patients, not bureaucrats, can make their own decisions unless the patient is a pregnant woman.]

“As we know, this bill has also presented big problems for our employers,” Cantor added. “Small businessmen and women are having a difficult time keeping the lights on, much less hiring new people. ‘Obamacare’ just makes it more difficult because it makes it more expensive for these business people to create jobs.”

[Then what was keeping those business people from creating jobs in the Bush years, before “Obamacare”?]

As I commented on an excellent article at our local online newspaper, the Southeast-Brewster Patch, “And does Speaker Boehner not see that the two are connected? Does he have any explanation as to WHY healthcare costs continue to rise? Do the Republicans who want to repeal the PPACA – and yes, some say “repeal and replace” – have any concrete solutions to the rising healthcare costs?”

Perhaps some of my questions were answered by this paragraph in the same WP article:

“Beyond their general comments, neither Boehner nor Cantor provided specifics on their path forward, waiting until the court rules before spelling out any further plans. But Republican aides have said in recent weeks that the House is unlikely to vote on any significant health-care-related legislation before the November elections — other than efforts to repeal the entire law if the high court doesn’t — preferring instead to keep focused on more overt attempts to boost job creation, strip away federal regulations and renew various tax cuts.”

[De-regulation, and tax cuts for the corporations – yeah, how’d that work out for Bush? Sigh]

I’ll leave you with two more articles from WP, one infuriating, one informative.

Possibly by the time you finish reading this post, the SCROTUS/SCREWEDUS (thanks, RUC) will have announced their decision. Hopefully, we won’t have to see a repeat of this:

Justice Antonin Scalia

UPDATE: The SCOTUS has decided that the Individual Mandate is Constitutional, read the text of the decision here.

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The Watering Hole: June 27 — Cape Kiwanda

Photo by Charles Meier

As you can see, the sandy beach around Cape Kiwanda attracts the surfers.  For me, the attraction is the giant effing rock!

Composed of basalt, Haystack Rock [and the Cape Kiwanda rock] was formed by lava flows emanating from the Grand Ronde Mountains 10 to 17 million years ago. The lava flows created many of the Oregon coast’s natural features, including Tillamook HeadArch Cape, and Saddle Mountain.

I bet there are puffins out there…

This is our daily open thread — Sorry it’s so late!!

The Watering Hole, Monday, June 25th, 2012: Two Images

Bainglorious (Image credit: Bain Capital/The Boston Globe

After seeing the above Mitt Romney photo for about the 100th time (this time accompanying a thread at TP), I decided to refresh my memory as to the origin of the photo. Checking a couple of search results, I noticed this, from the National Journal:

“Asked on Fox News Sunday about a whimsical [“whimsical”?] black-and-white photo of Romney and his colleagues at a private equity firm smiling and posing with money in their pockets, hands and teeth, Romney explained that the image was taken after they won their first round of investment, which he said was roughly $37 million.

“We posed for a picture to celebrate the fact that we raised a lot of money,” he said, adding that he anticipated the photo will surface repeatedly in the election if he becomes the Republican nominee. “I know there will be every effort to put free enterprise on trial,” he said.

Asked whether President Obama might try to paint him as Gordon Gekko, the famous corporate raider from the 1980s movie Wall Street, during a general election matchup, Romney said he anticipated just such a move.

“Of course he will,” Romney said, “in part because he has been the great divider.””

Romney’s official Massachusetts State Governor’s portrait

In my search, I also ran across an ad in the Boston Globefor a book about Mitt Romney, written by two of the Globe’s writers. Here’s a couple of teases from the ad:

By Michael Kranish and Scott Helman of The Boston Globe

Chapter 9: The CEO governor: “his campaign produced television ads designed to preemptively beat back any Democratic attacks. It was a lesson learned from the Kennedy onslaught eight years earlier, which had typecast him as a heartless corporate raider. This time Romney would define himself, instead of letting his opponent do it for him.”

Chapter 10: Health care revolutionary
It was a sunny October afternoon in 2008, and Mitt and Ann Romney were making a return visit to the Massachusetts State House to meet with the portrait artist Richard Whitney. Together they walked to the third-¬floor office Romney had once occupied, its broad windows offering expansive views of the Boston Common and bustling downtown. Whitney needed photos to paint Romney’s official portrait. Romney had been clear about the image he wanted to convey for posterity. Wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and striped tie—the dress uniform of a businessman—he would be sitting on his desk in front of an American flag, next to symbols of two things he held dear. The first was a photo of his wife, the center of his personal universe. The second was the Massachusetts health care law. “He wanted to be remembered for that,” Whitney said.

Apparently RMoney only wanted to be remembered for his historic health care law for as long as it was politically expedient, i.e., until President Barack Obama touted “Romneycare” as a basis for the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare.” Now, of course, RMoney says that repealing “Obamacare” is on his Day-One “To-Do” list upon his inauguration.

Meanwhile…an article in yesterday’s Boston Globe describes RMoney’s relationship with Michael Milken, the junk bond king – a relationship that continued even while Milken was being investigated for insider trading.

So, which image of Mitt RMoney do you think with be remembered by posterity?

This is our daily open thread — have at it!