The Watering Hole, Monday, February 17th, 2014: Pick an Issue?

I’m sure that I’m not the only one among us Critters and Zoosters who received this email survey from Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) asking, “What should Congress focus on in 2014?”

Which issue matters most to you in 2014?

__Keeping Our Promise to Seniors by Protecting Social Security & Medicare

__Strengthening Our Manufacturing Economy

__Raising the Minimum Wage

__Protecting Women’s Health and Freedom

__Tax Reform That Rewards Hard Work

__Working to Lower Healthcare Costs

__Supporting Small Business Startups

__Investing in Innovation, Science, Research and Technology

Other:

I went with “Other”, more or less:

While most of the above are important issues in my view (“Protecting Women’s Health and Freedom” and “Investing in Innovation, Science, Research and Technology” in particular), I believe that the single most important issue that impacts the future of this country is EDUCATION. We need children who are taught critical thinking, in order to have the ‘Innovation, Science, Research and Technology’ in which to invest. Stressing the basics in: reading (especially reading comprehension); spelling (because words are spelt the way they are for good reason); vocabulary (because words mean what they mean due to their evolution through history); math skills; and the basics in the sciences and technologies, are all paramount. Investing in the future means investing in schools, teachers, and (most importantly) young citizens’ minds.

Really, with all of the problems that our country faces, there are so many important issues to be addressed that it’s impossible to say which is MOST important. And some issues which I would have thought were important are not even on the list, i.e, gun control, environmental issues (climate change, fossil fuel pollution of several sorts, etc.), our failing infrastructure…(sigh) I could go on, but you get the idea.

How would you respond to Senator Baldwin’s survey?

This is our daily open thread–you can answer the survey if you wish, or talk about whatever you want!

33 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, February 17th, 2014: Pick an Issue?

  1. Even though I know full well Congress won’t do a damn thing that’s worthwhile all year long, I would suggest they deal with each and all of Baldwin’s suggestions, and in the process toss politic and power and money issues aside and do something RIGHT for a change. The top eight (under the ‘health care’ topic, make it universal single payer, period; make it less expensive by bankrupting each and all of the goddamn health insurance companies) should take at most a month to properly deal with, then comes the most important one: OTHER. AFAIC, that category includes those absolutely critical issues of dealing with Climate Change and protecting the environment, particularly the absolute necessity of working to protect all endangered species as well as to protect and save for the rest of time those few remaining wild places. Expand public lands and prevent them from being invaded by the corporate profit machine including but not limited to fracking and/or mining (coal, mineral, gold in particular); to oil exploration including but not limited to offshore, to timber harvest in National Forests other than whatever fire-prevention thinning might be necessary.

    NO MORE CORPORATE TAX SUBSIDIES!!!!!

    Invest heavily in renewable and carbon-free energy sources.

    Invest in and enhance public education, K-12 and college; make certain it will all be of highest quality and never the cause of family or student debt.

    Raise the maximum tax rate on the top one percent to not a penny less than 90%.

    Oh, and legislate the means to rid the country of guns!!! Whatever it takes.

    There. That should keep them busy for six months at least. Solve all of that, then take a month off.

  2. First I’d say to strengthen our manufacturing economy, but then they would just say pass TPP and TTIP, neither of which will help create jobs here, until we’re all willing to work for the same wages as the cheapest workers on the planet.

    Before the major corporations began gleefully pulling jobs and factories out of the US, it mattered to them that we had a strong education system. Now, they just want to hire workers already educated from other countries to fill the few jobs that require advanced knowledge, and figure a few US students will achieve in spite of a system with the legs cut from underneath it.

  3. Sounds like any rich person in America who complains about their taxes. They spend on lavish ridiculous things while people in this country starve.

    Kim Jong Un spends more money on luxury goods than his father, UN report finds | Fox News

    Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, who died in 2011, was infamous for spending lavishly while his people starved. He reportedly had 17 different palaces within the nation, including a private resort near Baekdu Mountain, a seaside home in the city of Wonsan and a massive complex northeast of Pyongyang. The elder Kim, who was obsessed with Elvis Presley and American movies, reportedly spent $1 million per year importing cognac and had dozens of luxury automobiles.

  4. Groupon:

    “The $10 bill, as everyone knows, features President Alexander Hamilton — undeniably one of our greatest presidents and most widely recognized for establishing the country’s financial system.”

    Undeniably, indeed.

  5. The question I have is, how soused can you get on $1 million worth of cognac in a year? Is that perpetually pickled, or merely occasionally, depending on the price per bottle?

  6. Fundies say the darndest things: Such drivel…

    An Atheist just means you don’t know love or have any positive values. Atheist people are simply ignorant scum of earth. ..i can do all things through christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

    That’s me – except for the volunteer hours put in at PP; Avian Outreach; tutoring.
    The love of my life died in 2002.

        • Or the love, the positive values of caring and sharing, that atheists and nontheists are willing to hand freely, including to believers of most any theology.

          I do have a problem with certain wingnut hyperchristers, however (the ones that detest me because I’m not like them, the ones with no positive values); but I really don’t “hate” more than a few of them.

  7. Hi, guys. We’re still learning.

    For instance; I now know that either the cats or I need to be locked in the bathroom if I want to eat cheese puffs or popcorn with Parmesan cheese, if I spend a whole day socializing with the cats while wearing sweat pants instead of jeans it looks like someone emptied both barrels of a shotgun into my thighs, bags of cat food left by the door while I’m putting away groceries are viewed as a self-serve buffet, and they are utterly fascinated by the workings of the shower. Two other positive things are that it seems I only have to put them off a counter or table once, as long as there isn’t anything containing cheese on said tables or counters, and they are both using their scratching post instead of the furniture or woodwork. How well they live with screens will have to wait for warmer weather and then I will determine if they keep their claws or not.

    • The cats have a sense of humor – you’ll never want for entertainment!
      Cheese! Cheese, please!
      Better watch your back, pete – it is those two against you!
      The boys chose well in the human department!

      • What’s that old saying about humor just being cruelty that hasn’t found a victim? I think that humans and cats have more in common, in the cruelty department, than humans and dogs or even most other primates.

        Our hours spent tossing and retrieving a simple wad of paper is a great example. I gain enjoyment by throwing the wad of paper and watching the cats chase after it and, eventually, bringing it back for another throw. The cats, on the other hand, can savage said wad of paper to their heart’s content and then, assuming one of them brings it back within reach, go and do it again. It’s really an example of applied cruelty for our mutual entertainment.

        And, after all is said and done, their overwhelming love of cheese and mayhem will prove to be as much of a boon as a bane. The down side is that it’s easier for me to lock me in the bathroom than it is for me to lock them in the bathroom if I actually want to eat cheese in some degree of peace!

  8. Another one bites the dust!

    I just got off the phone with an old friend. He’s a smart guy and has a good heart. But? Someone has been feeding him right-wing talking points. During our conversation he proudly proclaimed that: Obama has raised taxes, Obama has stopped drilling for oil, Obama is trying to “take our guns” and “Obamacare is unconstitutional”. I’m pretty sad about the whole situation.

      • He, Matt, is an interesting case. He’s a nice guy and a smart guy but he has a very short attention span and, generally, holds the opinion that anyone who gives any consideration to politics is on a fool’s errand. He might be swayed by a bumper sticker but he’s damned hard to convince of the truth of a lengthy rebuttal. I need to identify the source before I have any hope of counteracting said source.

        • Pete, it may to keep ihn mind that studies found that low-effort thinking (not stupidity per se, but just not putting much thought into it) leads to conservative outcomes, while more in-depth thinking (high effort) tends to lead to liberal results. The key may be to stick to one topic and think it through with him. He may then understand how to think “correctly” (or some less Commie-sounding term.)

      • Me too; I think. I would like President Obama a whole lot more if he more closely resembled the straw man the rightwhiners have created. If he had found a way to introduce truly “socialized medicine”, expanded investment in alternative energy, and reduce the availability of guns to those who should not have guns? I would be leading the charge to do away with the two term rule.

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