May 28, 2013

Congress: Republican Intellect Is In Very Short Supply

In Congress Republican Intellect Is In Very Short Supply

Jive 5: Five news stories people are talking about today.

  1. Gay marriage
  2. The no vacation nation
  3. A Republican reality television personality with presidential ambitions
  4. The GOP’s Ron Paul has internet ambitions
  5. A Republican critter named Vitter is a bitter pill with no ambitions.

1. Is gay marriage coming to Illinois?


Illinois state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) is the chief sponsor of legislation to legalize gay marriage, and he told the Windy City Times that the state House will vote on the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act,”  this week.

Kate Sosin spoke with Rep. Harris last week, and reports:
When I put it up on the board, it’s going to go up to win,” Harris said, adding that he would “absolutely” call for a vote on the measure before spring session ends May 31.
This issue is at the front and center of virtually every conversation going on in Springfield,” Harris said.Harris declined to offer a specific date for the vote or a count on the roll call.
The bill needs 60 votes to pass the House. It has already cleared the Senate.
Marriage equality could be a reality in Illinois sometime this week. Or not.....




2. Are we the no vacation nation?

The nonpartisan Center for Economic Policy and Research has found that the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t mandate paid vacation days or paid time off/holiday pay.

Countries in the European Union mandate at least 20 days of paid vacation each year.
In Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog at The Washington Post, he wrote:
So among richer workers, almost all employers offer paid vacation and holidays, and quite a bit of it. Among poorer workers, less than half get paid vacation, and even when they do, their employers offer a lot less of it. This is one more way in which the poor often end up working much harder than the rich.



3. A Republican reality television personality has presidential ambitions.


The reality television personality and Obama-skeptic leader of the birther movement, Donald Trump, has spent one million dollars on polling and research, as he ponders whether to run for president in 2016.

The New York Post  spoke with Trump consigliere Michael Cohen, the executive vice president and special counsel to the Trump organization.
They commissioned the $1 million in research into Trump’s standing in each state, and to gauge those he would need to win over.
The electoral research was commissioned. We did not spend $1 million on this research for it just to sit on my bookshelf,” Cohen said. “At this point Mr. Trump has not made any decision on a political run, but what I would say is that he is exactly what this country needs. The turnout at these political speeches indicates his following remains very strong and is growing.
Please please please run! The Republican party is dying to have another candidate who fancies himself as a pompous and wealthy blowhard. That worked out real well for Romney now, didn’t it?



4. A Republican loses an intellectual property lawsuit --- which is more evidence that GOP intellect is in short supply.


Every candidate for a political office sets up a website to promote their campaign, and to solicit donations to their campaign organization.

Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) couldn’t register his given name when he was running for political office, because the website domain names ronpaul.com and ronpaul.org were bought by his supporters. They were set up as fansites for the perennial Republican presidential candidate, and the former Congressman’s supporters were tireless advocates for his campaigns.

They offered to to give the domain names to the candidate for free, and asked that they be compensated for the large mailing lists.

Rep. Paul didn’t want to pay for the mailing lists, so he filed a lawsuit with the World Intellectual Property Organization to commandeer the domain names away from his supporters.

Gawker’s Max Rivlin-Nadler writes:
Both of the domain name disputes were dismissed because Paul still took his supporters to court, even though they offered to give him the sites for free (they only requested compensation for their very sizable mailing lists).
Not only did Paul lose both domain name disputes, but he was also found guilty of “reverse domain name hijacking,” which is essentially being found guilty of wasting the court’s time.




5. The Louisiana Republican critter called Vitter is a bitter pill.


I’m not a fan of anti-gay Senator David Vitter (R-LA), because he’s a vile creature with the intelligence of a gnat, and hypocrisy is his middle name.

There’s a Salon.com  article written by David Dayen entitled “David Vitter’s hypocritical, punitive, horrible new amendment”. It describes Vitter’s punitive proposal as “Senator’s new measure denies food stamps for life to certain classes of ex-convicts (solicitation not included).” The reference to “solicitation not included” is a reference to Vitter’s taste for spicy hooker’s, and his implication in the “D.C. Madam” sex scandal. 

Republicans in Congress believe that if you’re hungry you should starve to death. Willard Mitt Romney said 47% of the country are takers --- and takers don’t pay taxes and expect government to take care of them. In that spirit, the GOP wants to find any reason they can to deny hungry Americans the chance to feed from the government teat.

David Dayan’s analysis of Vitter’s amendment is excellent, and worth reading. David writes [emphasis my own]:
The amendment was clearly created as a wedge issue, a perennial Republican effort to get Democratic senators to vote for something that can get used against them later in attack ads. Tom Coburn is a master of this; during the healthcare bill he offered an amendment banning sex offenders from receiving health insurance benefits for Viagra.
Vitter presented the bill as prohibiting “convicted murderers, rapists, and pedophiles” from food stamp benefits. And in general those are the categories – murder, rape, aggravated sexual assault, domestic violence where sexual assault is involved, child molestation, and so on. No senator would vote to “give” violent offenders federal benefits, and in this case they didn’t have to. Rather than put the amendment up for a vote, the manager of the farm bill, Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow, merely accepted the amendment into the base bill. The amendment was agreed to by unanimous consent, which is to say that nobody objected to it on the floor. In reality, it’s unlikely that most senators even knew the amendment’s contents.
“Some people say these are unsavory crimes, and I agree,” said Bob Greenstein, founder and president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, one of the first to notice the amendment’s passage. “But there’s a broader principle here. Suppose you did something terrible when you were 19, and you were straight the rest of your life, you paid your debt to society, now you’re 82 and living in poverty, should you be stripped of food stamps? Is this the right thing to do?”
Is this the right thing to do? In a word --- NO.

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