hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
It's been a disappointing election season. And I honestly feel, for the first time ever, that neither candidate was the best each party could have run.

My opinion of Barack Obama has lost it's shine since I lost my job. For someone who is celebrated at being able to communicate well, he is, frankly, a lousy communicator. There was a time for him to get up on stage and say "I believe in the ACA and this is why" and he let it slide, allowing the press to just tally up all the Tea Party's complaints.

I guess that's really my biggest complaint with Barack Obama. Things happen and he.. doesn't seem to react. Not until he's had a good, hard think about it. And when something DOES happen, like Benghzai, he misses his moment of leadership. Honestly, I think he was only ready to act in that role for Sandy because there was advance notice.

I don't blame Obama for the economy, though I would have REALLY appreciated it if he could have had the Fed explain to us why a slow recovery is better, since all the articles I've read suggests that this is the recovery the Fed WANTED. I do honestly believe that a government doesn't create private sector jobs, only government jobs. I don't blame Obama for the issues he had trying to get things through the Republican Congress, though he did play his share of politics.

If the Republicans had put up any serious contenders, I might have voted GOP this year. The economy and my job security is the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO ME this election.

And who did the GOP end up picking? The Etch-A-Sketch. And that's really what Romney/Ryan was. Given that never either gave any DETAILS about this wonderful plan that will slash the deficit, be fiscally neutral, give extra money to the military and cure cancer, it became dubious, highly suspicious. Because either they didn't have details or, more likely, the details themselves were highly unpopular, like the Ryan budget, which also never had any details.

Romney is, in every way, a blank slate. He doesn't care to give you details about himself because thsy may damn him with another portion of the electorate. So you see in Mitt.. what you expect to see, what YOU put in.

I have no problem with Mitt as a populist, sitting in the middle where the average of his electorate sits, but I had a big problem with a Mitt who was both for and against abortion, who would overturn Obamacare, but not all of Obamacare. I just always got the sense that Mitt would say anything to keep people happy and then do... well, I have no idea what, at all.

This was my big year to vote third party. After all, my vote for President doesn't count at all. I might have voted Green party this year. Except Oklahoma didn't have anyone but Mitt and Obama on the ballot.

So.. I held my nose. I held my nose and hope to god that Obama will learn from his last four years and maybe try to be a little bit more in front of the curve in his next four years, though I doubt it. And I do honestly believe that if Obama gets elected, he won't accomplish anything at all. We are becoming a country of idealogues, with very few people left in the center willing to consider that both parties may be right and wrong. Since the Republicans are not losing Congress, as a whole, Obama will accomplish nothing, except possibly avoiding the fiscal cliff, though I doubt even that much. After all, the current jerks in the GOP might hold their nose and jump the fiscal cliff so they can blame Obama for the economy tanking again. That's the kind of politics our congress plays.

But in any case...
I hope 2016 is better. Because 2012 is a mess. A disaster. I don't feel good at all.
hkellick: (Political)
I was originally going to post on the Chicago Teacher Union Strike and what appears to me to be a stubborn mayor butting heads with a bunch of stubborn public workers over.. well, mainly, I think Mayor Rahm himself. Oh, also on whether teachers should be judged based on standardized test scores or more grey-area judgments while the true people who suffer, the children, the teachers, the parents of the students all suffer because of these knuckleheads. 

But then the consulate assault in Libya occurred and Romney put his foot in it.. again.

In a political campaign that I think was, by all means, going to be about how Obama has handled the economy,, Romney seems to continue to put his foot in it. And by now, it should be known that every time he does, the news will cover it. Every single mistake.

For a campaign that was supposed to be about "Obama mishandled the economy", it seems like it's been a campaign about pretty much everything else.  And that's telling, because I think President Obama and.. well, really Ben Bernanke has totally botched the economic recovery. I've read numerous reports in Slate and WaPo from economists who all suggest totally viable ways to speed up the economic recovery and none of these suggestions has been listened to. So, yes, I do think Bernanke mishandled the economic recovery.

But that's not what this has been about. Instead, it's been about botches, about misquotes (and so many of the things this campaign have been about (You didn't build that) has been a misquote.)

And then there was the choice of Ryan for VP. I know Ryan excited the base who loves the Ryan plan, and Ryan is no Palin, but let's all acknowledge that by making Ryan VP, the campaign suddenly became as much about "How will the nominee handle the economy."

We all know how Obama will handle the economy. He'll let Bernanke keep screwing around. But what we don't know is what Romney will do. Well, no, Romney's made promises, but what he hasn't given is specifics. HOW can he give more tax breaks to the rich AND balance the budget? The closest to an answer we have is the Ryan plan which is really controversial.

And unfortunately, in the conventions, which people do watch, it's arguable how well Romney was able to, well, connect with anyone. As I've read the polls, there wasn't the post-convention bump you'd expect, the kind that Bubba (and, yes, I'm giving the credit mostly to Bill Clinton) helped give Obama.

I expected the Chicago Teachers Union strike would be a problem for Obama. It may still be.

But, man, when Romney gets on national television and makes an ass of him, stumbling and bumbling, attacking Obama for apologizing and sympathizing with radical Muslims, which he isn't .. he looks like an idiot. He doesn't look like Presidential.  I wonder if the almight undecideds agree.

So, here we are.. two months before election day and Obama has a slight lead. Romney should be ashamed. If he'd stuck to his economic measure, he may have changed minds, won voters, but he mishandled his attack on Obama's mishandling of the economy. So...

I guess we'll see in 8 weeks, but from here, I'm no longer going to be surprised if Obama wins, even with terrible economic news.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
Bill Clinton, I think it was, once announced that his presidency would be the era of big government is over. He was wrong, of course. But it's a line that gets thrown out a great deal.

One could easily take the failed recall vote in Wisconsin as a sign that the Union Man just doesn't have the power he used to have. And I do think that's a good take home message, though I do feel the failed recall vote happened for more reasons than just that.

But when you look at the fiscal cliff we're driving off of, there is one universal truth that needs to be mentioned. We are spending far more money than we have. We all know what the politicians think about this, which is garbage. The GOP want to cut spending but not raise taxes. They want Austerity, but Austerity is destroying the European Economy and it's a reasonable argument that it could have the same effect here. The Democrats want to keep spending, but increase taxes on the very rich. This is utter nonsense as well, quite honestly.

What's missing from the debate is any semblance of subtlety, any hint that there are other options.

Which brings us to the unions, specifically the unions for the public service jobs: The Teachers Union, the FIremen Union, the Policemen Union, etc.

Let's be honest. Unions theoretically work to make things better for the people they represent, but Unions are fallible and over the years, Unions have made mistakes and decisions that added to the problems.

You could argue, as Scott Walker argued, that that's true in Wisconsin, that the civil servant unions have been part of the problem. I think he's right, to some extent. When things were good, I don't think there's any argument that we should be putting so many dollars into such and such a union's retirement fund, or that such and such a public sector jib needs this number of days off. But when things are bad, and they are, exactly what have the Unions done to say "We recognize that things are tough. Here, let's help you out."

Of course, the people that the unions represent are real people with real needs, financial and otherwise, but when things get bad we ALL need to shoulder the load, no matter who hires you. For most of us, when things get bad, we just consider ourselves lucky enough to keep our jobs, forget get additional leveraging power.

And that's really what was at the heart of Scott Walker's laws. The Unions still exist, but they're lives are just much closer to the rest of us. I read somewhere that in 2012, only 11% of workers in the United State belong to a union. The other 89% of us don't. When things get tough and we don't get the raise we hoped for, we don't strike. We don't walk out. We just thank gods we still have a job to call our own.

The union has been in decline for a long time. Maybe that's a bad thing. I'm sure some will say it is. But,..

When Walker instituted his rules, the Unions warned of of things going off track in Wisconsin, that taxes would need to be raised, etc. But that didn't happen, 16 months later. Walker found a way to tighten the budget and I guarantee you, others will follow.

And so I say, with no doubt I'm wrong, the End of the Era of the Big Union is over. Kaput. Gone.


May. 25th, 2011 07:28 am
hkellick: (Political)
Interesting enough, when I lived in Buffalo, this WAS my district. NY-26 is a light red congressional district which includes some of the richer, northern suburbs of Buffalo (such as Amherst, where I'm from) as well as a large area mostly east of Buffalo where there's not much but Farmland and Batavia (aka Farmland).

So, I'll admit that NY-26 was of special interest to me, especially given the realization by the politicos that the race was quickly becoming a referendum on what Paul Ryan's plan MIGHT mean for things like Medicare, which has always been an issue Republicans were going to have to deal with.

By all accounts, Corwin was not a good candidate. She did not run a good campaign and did not, for example, even address the fears that the Ryan plan would end Medicare until it was far, far too late.

Democrats want you to believe that this is another Scott Brown moment, a sign of things to come. That any Republican who sides with the Ryan plan in a not deep-red congressional district COULD end out on their tush. And they may be right.

Republicans want you to think that the issue was not the Ryan plan, but that the Democrat turned Tea Party candidate, Jack Davis, split the vote. With a whole 9% vote.

They also want you to believe the 2012 election will be a referendum on Obama and Obama only, though I don't think they're right. Since by all accounts, all polls currently show that while the public may not love Obama, they care less for the Republicans in office. (Then again, Congress has had low poll numbers forever and a day. Not that they care.)

I think, however you want to spin it yourself, whether you're a democrat or republican or an independent, this election was important and a sign of some of the issues that candidates will need to contend with in 2012.

But then I also know that this seat has been held by a Republican since the 1960s and the fact that they lost it now.. is a bad, bad sign for them.
hkellick: (Political)
Been thinking alot about my frustration with Obama and my issues with the fact that I strongly suspect he'll be the lesser of two evils come 2012.

I keep thinking back to the 2008 election. I've been a registered democrat since 1993. I've voted for Clinton, though I never fell in love with him. Gore, despite the fact that I thought the guy had less personality than a phone book, and Kerry, despite the fact that it frustrated me to no end that Kerry wouldn't at least call out the people throwing mud in his face for the pure LIES.

Then came this guy who not only spoke well, but assured us all that he could find common ground with the other side and work together with them to better America. In short, a president who might do some GOOD for this nation and might right some of the grievous wrongs done by his predecessor. He'd close down Guantanamo bay, end the war on terror and at least be able to have a CONVERSATION with the republicans on how we can actually BETTER this country.

Cut here before the post gets too long )
hkellick: (Political)
This post mostly has to do with CC, but.. it's content...

I have a confession. Right now in my life, I'm feeling myself go more and more liberal. I have alot of disgust with the government as a whole and how broken it is (have been just HORRIBLY disgusted since a single senator was able to stop FEMA, unemployment and a few other things for a little while), and alot of disgust with the politics of the Republican Party as a whole, especially the Tea Party.

I realize that this puts me on the opposite spectrum from people who, if it weren't for political views, I share alot with.

I'm not, in general, particularly apologetic for speaking my mind and calling it like I see it. I'm not apologetic for telling people what I believe, even if it isn't what they want to hear.

If that makes me an asshole, so be it. As I'm reminded, however, the internet, the WORLD, even, is FULL of people who will tell you what they believe, whether you want to hear it or not.

If I am apologetic over something, it's simply that my passion can turn an otherwise friendly conversation into a huge bout of Drama.

I don't know when something clicked, but somewhere around the Obama Election, with so many lies running around about.. how Obama was the antichrist, how Obama was going to take people's gun rights away, how Obama was a Muslim, something clicked and I just got.. disgusted with the opposition.

Politics is dirty, I get that. But some of the things said, some of the things done (I'm looking at the violence and threats done against senator and congressmen offices recently during the health care debate), it's wrong. This isn't about an honest disagreement on how best to run the country. I WELCOME the debate from people who honestly disagree on how best to run the country. It's about the lies, the violence, the shenanigans, the preaching of fear. That's what's wrong.

That's what I'm seeing FAR MORE of from one party than the other and that's what leaves me snarky, angry and can leave me looking for fights from people I otherwise get along with who condone, through votes and opinions, the lies, the shenanigans, the violence.

Where are the Republicans saying "OK, I see what you mean about $topic, and we agree it needs to be addressed. Let's work across the aisles to come up with something we can both live with?" Heck, where's the honest debate about topics? It's amazing how many Republicans suddenly voted against measures they initially voted for, but changed their minds, apparently, because Obama and the Dems suggested it.
What *I* See is a Republican Party that is unified in opposition against Obama. They aren't really FOR anything, just AGAINST Obama. The party of No. That's not leadership. It's not even proper lawmaking.
hkellick: (Political)
So.. Arizona's immigration bill. Racist, Small-minded, idiotic, probably unconstitutional.

And I blame the Federal Government for it even existing at all, because if they'd done their job, Arizona wouldn't have had to step in to try to do it for them.

I've been wrapping my mind up around a thought that's been growing for a while, which is that the American Government no longer works.

I truly believe that when the framers wrote down their concept of checks and balances, they never expected blocs of senators all voting together against a president, activist judges and a whole host of people across both sides of the aisle who seem to think it's more important to get reelected for another term than to do what they're constituents may want them to do.

This is not, I think, how government is SUPPOSED to work. The system is broken.

Immigration has been an issue for years. One of many, but no one can come to a conclusion, no law can be made, so we'll punt it back for another few years. The number of issues that have been punted backwards, health care reform, education reform, social secutity, etc. etc. .. is disgusting, really, and makes you wonder.. what HAS our government achieved?

I don't blame the Republicans, solely. This is not a one-party problem. This is a Washington-wide problem.

K. I'm done. But still disgusted.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
The good news was the weather. It was a glorious weekend, weather-wise, with temperatures in the low 70s, comfortable enough to keep the windows open during the day and air the house out.

The bad news was yesterday..

We had noticed a... tenuous causal link (that is, we can't scientifically back it up, but it seems to be the case) between the amount of dairy K has and.. the poor boy having alot of uncomfortable gas and having a bad day.

Saturday, K had desert. It was chocolate-peanut butter cake. I didn't think there would be THAT much milk in it (in fact, I'm the one that egged K on to have it, since she's been entirely dairy free for two weeks), but poor boy spent most of Sunday an utter wreck. Gassy and spitting up and just.. having a bad day.

It seems to have settled down this morning, but if it hasn't, K is going to call the doctor and see if she can get an appointment in.

Meanwhile, K's family is asking (begging) K to come down for Easter. EVERYONE wants to meet Robert. I think she's considering it, but there'd be some issues, the biggest simply being the amount of stuff they'd need to take up (cosleeper, possibly stroller, etc.) and the other being her getting home.
It's up to her. If she does go, I'll stay home and watch the cats.
And catch up on sleep.
And play video games like CRAZY.
And probably go see "Alice" again, because that movie was awesome. :D And because K would kill me if I saw another better movie without her.

But we'll see.

It also turns out the next weekend, the weekend I'm heading up to say goodbye to my friend Kim (we're spreading her ashes in a park of her choosing north of Baltimore), there's a free acapella concert (the New Dominions. We enjoy their concerts) in Vienna I definitely want to go to. Not a problem in and of itself We'd probably just need to head out by 4:30 or 5:00 (and honestly, with the boy, if he comes, I dunno how long we'd be able to hang ANYWAYS.)

And that's all the news that's worth mentioning.


In other news, the house passed the Senate Bill and FINALLY we have.. some small measure of Health Care reform.

I do agree with those that say that what we did wasn't so much a success for the bill itself so much as a message that we, the country, believe Americans have the right to affordable healthcare. Lots and lots of people have talked about affordable healthcare for years and years. No one has done anything about it, hithertoforward.

The bill, as it stands, is not a success in and of itself, but as a starting place, as a message on America's right TO afforable health care, it was a success.

Especially given the antics of those on the other side (Death Panels, indeed.)

The new bill doesn't do everything I think it should do. But it's a start, and some reform, I truly believe, is better than status quo.
hkellick: (Political)
My wife and I watched the State of the Union last night. It lasted longer than I realized it would, so despite some vague interest in seeing what McDonnell would say in response, I have yet to see it.

I thought that the speech was well made, if a little long. I thought the president made the point that he HAD had a busy (and altogether pretty good) first year and had accomplished things that needed to be accomplished.

I thought it sounded like he understood why Americans were so disgusted and angry with the government, with the partisan bickering and how impossible it is to fix the issues we ALL deal with, such as health care, jobs, etc.

I thought some of the jabs that were made were appropriate, especially the one about the RNC's lack of leadership.

I realize that the State of the Union is just Obama setting his agenda for the next year. It's a good agenda. I'd love to believe that I think he'd get'er done, but that depends on him putting on a better performance OFF The podium and the Senate actually working together to do what's right for America. Only one of those two seems likely...

Still, it was a good speech. I just wish he hadn't made so long to get up in front of a podium and say some of the things that needed to be said.
hkellick: (Political)
So, by now you've no doubt heard that Brown has won the special election in MA. He's already vowed to vote against Obamacare and Cap and Trade.

I blame the DNC for consistently putting up lackluster candidates that voters can't get excited to vote for. Obama WON because he energized people. How could you not have been paying attention and then make the mistake of putting up these pinheads who get elected and then do nothing notable, nothing to be excited about. Were you not paying attention when Deeds got thrashed in VA for the same issues?
I also blame the travesty that is the Senate Health Bill. It's unpopular and the more people really see about it (we're not talking "Death Panels" here, but the actual issues with the bill such as handouts to special interest, pork-a-plenty, etc.), the more unpopular it is.

Now Obamacare is dead (unless the unlikely happens and Congress votes for the Senate bill, which looks doubtful right now.) and most of Obama's agenda won't be pushed through either.

There's something wrong with the system when it takes a supermajority to push through change. You can't run a democracy on a supermajority and it's highly unlikely a one-party bill will ever make most Americans happy. The useful point of having a bipartisan bill is that it's more likely to appease everyone.

But of course the assumption here is that we're all trying to work together to make the country a better place and that's just not the reality here. Instead, it's politics as usual in Congress. Stick together with your party and try to outmaneuver and screw the other party so that they'll lose the next election.

This is the reality of congress. Congress isn't there to make the nation a better place. They're there to have power, to flaunt it and abuse it.

Our government should be a discussion, where people of different background and beliefs will sit down together and decide how to make the country better, but it isn't a discussion. It's a flamewar.

And this is why America is not the greatest of nations.
hkellick: Pittsburgh, City of Bridges (Default)
It's funny. I remember when people cheered "OMG, 60 democratic senators! We can do anything now!"


You know, I'm not a liberal. Not a Capital L liberal.

But I have to agree with Howard Dean. The current bill is crap. It needs to be killed.

As I understood it, the point to Health Insurance was to help the millions of people who can't afford to buy health care. The current bill doesn't accomplish that. It gives us a mandatory mandate that everyone get health insurance, which WON'T lower costs long term because there's nothing in the bill that stops HMOs from overcharging or giving bad service.

In short, there is no real REFORM int he health care reform bill. Instead those people healthy enough to skip health insurance are being punished.*

What a crock. What a piece of shit.

Even 59 democratic senators if you don't count Joe "Benedict Arnold" Lieberman, and you really can't and this piece of shit was the best we could do?

Harry Reid needs to be fired. His job is, like Pelosi's to get 'er done. He isn't. Instead we sat there sidelines by Lieberman's demands and caving in.

To Obama, to Harry Reid, to the Congress as a whole.. get with it. Do you want to pass health reform or do you hope to maybe nickle and dime it. It's a LITTLE better now than it was, so that's OK. And then in 70 more years, it'll be a LITTLE better then that it is now. Oh wow, aren't these idiots we elected doing a great job?


To Harry Reid, to the Democrats, to Obama.. please stand up for what's RIGHT and not what Joe Lieberman and the obstructionists are demanding you do. You KNOW what's right. You know what we need. That bill is not it.

*the current bill mandates that everyone get health insurance while allow the health insurance company to charge you 50% more if you have a pre-existing conditions. So that means if you have a pre-existing condition, you may not be able to afford health care, but you damn well had better get it or the Feds will ding you!

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