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      I woke up last night feeling like I was suffocating, because in my dream I was. It began in a church, or an old university lecture hall. Antique. And everyone in attendance was being asked to say little prayers honoring Jesus. Everyone was reciting little prayers that are common among the devout. But when it was my turn, I stood and exclaimed: Jesus was a ph […]
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Fix the Michigan and Florida double standard

Turkana at The Left Coaster has a good post up today about the way that Florida and Michigan are getting the shaft. And let’s make no mistake about this: if they were included in the totals, Clinton wouldn’t look like she’s on the ropes right now and the media would have been forced to cover Florida as a genuine win- and a big one- for Hillary. Instead, they barely mentioned it while they overhyped Obama’s win in South Carolina.

What the absence of MI and FL does is nullify the votes of those of us in the Big D states who voted on SuperTuesday. Our votes combined with MI and FL should have given Hillary more of a boost but they seem to be dangled out there like they don’t count and without their critical mass, we are in virtual dead heat with no one getting a decisive lead and with one candidate benefitting from a deceptive media narrative.

Now, I think maybe Michigan should hold its primary again. It’s only fair since Obama and Edwards were not on the ballot. If it’s too expensive to do a primary and caucuses are *clearly* out of the question because the rabid Obamaphiles are the ones who show up to them and there is no secret ballot, why not have a primary by mail like Oregon has for their general elections? How hard would that be? It takes virtually no time to send out a ballot fo everyone registered and give them until *name a date* to send the sucker back. It’s quick, it’s private and it’s cheap compared to setting up voting precincts and calibrating voting machines. Before you know it, Michigan could seat some valid delegates. No muss, no fuss.

Florida on the other hand, *did* feature multiple candidates on its ballot and more than a million voters turned out to vote. I think Florida’s primary must be taken seriously. In fact, the voters did it without much campaigning on any candidate’s part which, to me, is more important. Except for the cable ad buys that Obama’s camp did and the few fundraising events by Clinton, the voter’s were relatively untainted and could evaluate the candidates based on nationally televised debates. It sounds legit. What good would be served by doing it all over except that due to the momentum that Obama has in the past week or so, the numbers would change in his favor?

Then there’s this: it turns out that South Carolina, NH and Iowa all violate the stated DNC primary timing rules, but they are let off the hook because of tradition. Only Michigan and Florida are punished. From a Left Coaster thread, a commenter notes:

Rule 11.A specifically set the date for the primaries & caucuses for those three states as ,“no earlier than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February” (Iowa), “no earlier than 14 days before the first Tuesday in February” (New Hampshire), and “no earlier than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February” (South Carolina).Iowa held their caucuses on January 3rd. That’s more than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February. New Hampshire held their primary on January 8th. That’s more than 17 days before the first Tuesday in February. And South Carolina held their primary on January 26th. That’s more than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February.

The fact is that, using your words, “the rules of the game” were changed to continue to give Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina preferential treatment in the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination process. Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, all violated Rule 11.A., but only Florida and Michigan were punished for it.If you’re going to enforce the rules, then the rules need to be applied equally and fairly. They weren’t, and as far as I’m concerned, the 2008 Delegate Selection Rules for the Democratic National Convention aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on.

Now, I’m not the kind of person who approves of changing the rules of the game while in progress, but when there are three states that started out with a handicap and they are relatively small states, why should they have the power to nullify the votes of more than a million voters from two other states? In fact, I don’t think the number of voters of IA, NH and SC combined exceed the number of primary voters in Florida alone. It looks like we are *still* being held hostage by the same stupid little states as before. IA and SC have made the decision for us in spite of SuperTuesday and more than a million disenfranchised voters in 2 states.

Howard better fix this fast because I am losing my patience. My state’s vote in NJ had better carry some weight and if Florida isn’t included, it most likely won’t.

Do Republicans argue badly or is it just me?

More bad argumentation on the health care issue. A commenter writes:

The high healthcare costs in the U.S. are the product of the current regulations. U.S. tax law, combined with the idea that employer-sponsored health-care is “a good thing”, have combined to create a situation where health-insurance is not insurance at all. Instead, it covers every little expenditure — like a managed account. From this root, springs the fact that a huge bureacracy is required to monitor these managed spending accounts.

Here’s a good article on the history of health-care costs.

The bottom line is that universal health-care will benefit some and hurt others. Similarly, if one increased taxes a little, and used the money to raise unemployment payouts, you would benefit some and hurt others. The essential issue is the immorality of having the government force people to be altruistic. Redistributing my income? No thank you!

Where to start:
The essential issue is the immorality of having the government force people to be altruistic.”

You must be a libertarian, Republican or a very stupid Democrat. The government is already forcing you to be altruistic. You pay a hidden tax to cover the costs of the uninsured. These uninsureds are either low paid workers whose companies do not provide healthcare or small biz owners who can’t afford to buy healthcare for their workers or self-employed who would rather keep the cash or dumb twenty somethings who think they’re never going to get sick. You might be a contractor who falls into one of these categories. So, when you get sick, as you will during your lifetime or just before you die, you will have to pay for treatment or we, the taxpayers, will have to cough up the bucks in the form of compensation to the hospitals that are stuck with the bill that you owe and can’t pay because you waited until your condition got to be serious enough to require hospitalization.

You’re *already* being forced to be nice to people because we as a society generally think it’s a bad thing for sick people to go without treatment or have their bloated corpses lying around. Of course, Republicans have been trying to get Americans to not feel so strongly about this so they will feel less guilty about letting poor people drown and die in New Orleans, for example. But it hasn’t been very successful because even the non-New Orleans native knows that there but for the grace of God go they.

I’m just curious, why is it that altruism towards the less fortunate is frowned upon but bailing out millionaire investors on bad real estate deals is perfectly OK? THAT kind of altruism Republicans can’t get enough of and they rob the hardworking taxpayers of NJ to pay their business buddies in Iraq with no bid contracts too and this does not trouble their consciences. And for some reason, we hard working slobs have it in our heads that we are being unreasonable to insist on affordable healthcare for everyone. WE feel guilty about asking everyone to pitch in so that people will not die or go bankrupt unnecessarily. The bastards in charge have been pretty good at messing with our heads when they get us to passively accept our fate as somehow not deserving of “charity” while we lavish government bailouts on *their* friends as if they’ve met with some catastrophic fate instead of a loss in their portfolios.

There seems to be no limit to the altruism heaped on those people with our tax dollars. But pay for a insulin pump for a diabetic child or a mammogram for a self-employed woman or an MRI for a guy with stomach pains, that’s where we draw the line. That’s just stealing from people like you. But stealing from me to cover Merril-Lynch’s bad investment gambles, that’s OK?

Go haunt a Norquist blog and drown someone else’s government in a bathtub.

Wednesday Morning- Hunkering Down

Alright, there’s no reason to belabor the point. Yeah, yeah, courtesy of intense media fluffing Obama is ahead. But it’s not over yet. One good debate should put everything back in perspective.

Anyway, there’s more stuff for me to do today. What do these people want from me, a cure for cancer?!?! Er, Ok, I’ll try. (NOTE: I happen to be the luckiest person in the world when it comes to work. I have a job I love and I work for a woman who I admire greatly. She is fair, collaborative, professional and the best mentor I have ever had. So, I’m just kidding about the work thing. It’s actually quite fun.) In the meantime, enjoy these fine selections from around the web:

  • Terry Gross does it again with another great interview comparing the healthcare plans of the candidates. Political scientist Jonathan Oberlander is her guest. Highly recommended.
  • ghost2 pointed me to a speech that Obama gave in 2006 where we can get an idea of the roll of religion in his America:

    Democrats, for the most part, have taken the bait. At best, we may try to avoid the conversation about religious values altogether, fearful of offending anyone and claiming that – regardless of our personal beliefs – constitutional principles tie our hands. At worst, some liberals dismiss religion in the public square as inherently irrational or intolerant, insisting on a caricature of religious Americans that paints them as fanatical, or thinking that the very word “Christian” describes one’s political opponents, not people of faith.Such strategies of avoidance may work for progressives when the opponent is Alan Keyes. But over the long haul, I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people, and join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy.


    This is why, if we truly hope to speak to people where they’re at – to communicate our hopes and values in a way that’s relevant to their own – we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse. …

    Senator Barack Obama

    I don’t know about you but I don’t particularly like the idea that my presidential candidate assumes that religion is an essential part of our lives and I don’t care which religion he’s referring to. If the religious want to talk amongst themselves about the value of religion in their lives, that’s just ticketyboo but must the rest of us be subjected to it? I happen to have a faith but my adolescent decided at the tender age of nine that she doesn’t believe in God. I don’t recall her saying she didn’t believe in good moral behavior and values. It was just the whole God part she had trouble swallowing. Obama gives me the impression that she’s somehow unfulfilled because she’s not a religious person, as if her moral maturity level is stunted and it would behoove her to hear about the religious values and dogmas of others. This is one of the many reasons I can’t support Obama. I don’t hear any tolerance from him regarding non-believers. Instead of telling the faithful to back off and let others have some breathing room, he takes pains to chastise his own side for daring to dissent on the necessity of faith itself. The pluralistic society he refers to contains not just many faiths but sometimes NO faith. He seems to run from unpopular faiths like Islam and he fails to acknowledge the full citizenship of the atheist. That’s just wrong, IMHO.

  • I never liked Howard Dean. There, I said it. When the whole world was going crazy for him in 2004, he just didn’t do it for me. The hype around him seemed artificial, sort of like Obama today. And whatever his message was, it didn’t resonate with me. It had nothing to do with the scream. I felt this way about Dean before the scream. He projected something that just bounced off of me. Wes Clark was more my style. But the netroots like Howard and I think the failure to get him nominated in 2004 has a lot to do with their zealous frenzy to push Obama down our throats in 2008: it makes them feel important. But it’s sort of like being rebels without a cause. Many of them know that Obama is not ready or doesn’t have their best interests at heart. That’s not the point. The point is they are not going to be told what to do. They are the new generation, blah, blah, blah. Like the rest of us are geezers. Anyway, back to Howard. If anyone is responsible for the mess that the nomination process is in right now, it’s Howard. My theory, and you can disagree if you’d like, is that Howard is an Idea Rat. In Dilbert cartoons, the Idea Rat is the one who comes to meetings and says stuff like “We need to restructure our core compentencies and maximize our values to become a worldclass organization!” And everyone says what a great idea that is (it could be something much more worthy than bizspeak, but you get the point) and they turn to him and say, “Go do it” and he says, “Oh, I can’t do it. I’m just an Idea Rat.” This is Howard. He’s got a lot of great ideas but implementation is a problem. He’s not quite sure how to pull that off. So, yes, it is a great idea that the big Democratic states finally got a say in the primary system after letting NH and Iowa pick our candidates. But it sucks that now that I’ve gotten to cast my ballot for my candidate of choice in NJ, along with my likeminded friends in NY, CA, MA, MI and FL, *our* preferences will be essentially negated by Howard’s not-very-well-thought-through decision to not seat the Florida and Michigan delegations. The disenfranchisement of a good portion of the Democratic electorate by the elimination of Florida is summed up in the following cartoon.florida chad Thanks Howard.