Friday, June 23, 2006

Crackpot Alert

According to some political scientists from East Carolina, Jon Stewart is singlehandedly responsible for the decay of American democracy. Apparently, Stewart makes people not want to vote.

As an NC State student, I'm required by law to make an ECU crack here. However, I can't think of any, and my state House candidate is an ECU grad, so I'll let you insert your own here.

Anyway, allow me to introduce Ms. Baumgartner and Mr. Morris to the tenuous relationship between correlation and causation. I don't think the Daily Show makes people think negatively about politics. I think that has more to do with the glut of corrupt, greedy, cheating, weasely, or just plain psychotic demagogues that get the media attention.

Maybe it's because huge corporations and their lobbyists keep us from making sensible changes in labor laws, even though a majority of Senators signed on to it. Or because legislatures are obsessed with idiotic worthless distractions instead of real-world problems. Or because blindingly obvious civil rights legislation gets waylaid because of political grandstanding. (Seriously, is anyone out there not on Capitol Hill still opposed to the Voting Rights Act? Yes, psycho Southern legislator/fossils, black people can vote now. Get over it.)

Or maybe it's because of things like this. Your representative will soon be contacting you about the $90.00 phone sex bill that got charged to your account last Tuesday.

And these guys have the gall to blame Jon Stewart? You do that. The rest of us will continue to laugh at The Daily Show in order to keep from crying.

In other news:

Possible terrorist plot foiled. And it didn't even require a warrantless wiretap. And they're actually issuing an indictment. Hell, they may even get tried. Makes you wonder why we haven't charged and tried the Gitmo crowd, doesn't it?

The House approves the estate tax cut and line-item veto. The cut is smaller than the full-on repeal that Republicans had been pursuing, but it'll still be pretty damn expensive and tilted toward the super-rich. Still, it's not as bad as it could have been. The line-item veto is limited to earmarks and targeted tax breaks; it was approved shortly after Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake tried to get a mere $200 million in earmarks removed to no avail, after which Flake said, "please, please, please don't drag me down." (Insert groan here.) The bill faces significant hurdles in the Senate, where Judd Gregg (R-NH) wants more comprehensive budget reforms, there are more than 40 votes against the estate tax (enough to filibuster, and since the minimum wage got filibustered there's nothing stopping Democrats from doing the same), and Senate Republicans are still unwilling to compromise on the very existence of an estate tax. Stay tuned.

Until then, quote of the day from Rep. Duncan Miller (D-CA), later echoed by the Republican Flake, regarding the line-item veto: "You control the House. You control the Senate. You control the presidency, and you need help before you spend again? What is this, Comedy Central?"

The Supreme Court protects whistle-blowers. Does this apply to the government? Who knows?

Let's see David Horowitz defend this guy. Oh, that's right, enforcement of far-right ideals isn't a concern in a university setting, just moderate-to-liberal ideals, right?

Thank you, John Edwards, for having your priorities straight. In a perfect world, his proposals would garner a lot more attention and a lot more honest debate. In fairness, the minimum wage increase got an airing in the Senate, where it failed. In an earlier debate about this, Jacob suggested that an expanded earned-income tax credit - a way of topping up income from the government's coffers - would be better. Anyway, I'd like to see what you think about the proposals, especially a) the five million temporary government-subsidized jobs. Kind of a CCC/WPA thing, which I like. But what would they be? How would they offer opportunities for other work when they expire? b) The tax credits to help low-income workers establish savings accounts - why not just give the tax credits and let workers establish savings accounts if they so choose? c) Expanded opportunities for college are great, but where's the funding for primary and secondary education? And where's the overhaul of the system by which education money is disbursed, which is probably the single greatest injustice currently being perpetrated by the government against the poor?


Mike said...

Took me a little while to get the "Flake" joke. Took me a little longer to stop groaning.

That Miller quote made me laugh out loud in the office. Like you say, to keep from crying.

As for the Edwards thing, good point about primary and secondary ed. If we don't properly educate kids at that level, they'll be dead weight at college.

Ben said...

The Supreme Court declared the line-item veto unconstitutional in the mid-90s! (Clinton v. New York was the name of the case.) Why the hell are they trying to create it again? Am I missing something here?