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Ronald Reagan Fetish, Rick Scott Bully, Stoning Valentine Couples: The Live Wire

| February 10, 2011

(© Cathy Scola)

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Today’s Live Wire: Quick Links

Rick Scott’s Posturing

From a St. Pete Times editorial: “the governor would worsen the state’s fiscal crisis with $1.6 billion in unnecessary tax cuts. He contends lower taxes, including a $500 million drop in already falling property taxes and shrinking the state’s modest corporate income tax from 5 percent to 3.5 percent, will make Florida more attractive to businesses seeking to relocate. But what would Scott say when those businesses ask about public schools? The governor recklessly proposes a 10 percent cut in per student spending after years of stagnant funding and just as Florida schools are showing modest gains in student achievement. Scott claims the cut doesn’t break his campaign promise and that he would keep state funding steady while not replacing federal stimulus money. Such parsing was never mentioned on the campaign trail, and he misled voters with his unworkable budget plans. Even where Scott correctly identified places for reform, lawmakers should not accept his antidotes carte blanche. He is right to call for government workers to contribute to their pensions as all other states require. But his proposal to save $1.4 billion by requiring workers to contribute 5 percent of their income starting in July is too much to ask after five years of no general raises. A phased-in contribution would be fairer and more realistic. Scott’s wholesale embrace of managed care for the state’s 3 million Medicaid patients also is raising serious concerns before legislative committees. Would there be access for patients? Would there be nearly the savings Scott projects? Or would more indigent patients clog up emergency rooms, costing taxpayers even more? States need to get a handle on Medicaid spending, but that is going to require a more thoughtful approach by both state and federal government. The governor is on firmer footing with his plan to shift the focus of prisons toward rehabilitating rather than warehousing criminals. […] Scott has identified some appropriate areas for reform, but he has yet to transition from political posturing to responsible policymaking for all Floridians.” The full editorial.

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Ronald Reagan Fetish

Ronald Reagan as a Lifeguard, Lowell Park, Illinois, 1927 (White House collection)

Gene Lyons in Salon: “Reagan’s genius as a politician was that he repackaged and sold to millions of Americans the comforting daydreams of the 1950s. Not the ’50s as they were — no Korean War, no Army-McCarthy hearings, no lynchings, no John Birch Society denouncing commie traitor “Ike the Kike” — but as depicted in TV sitcoms like “Ozzie and Harriet, “Leave It to Beaver” and “The Andy Griffith Show.” Playing the president, Reagan essentially recapitulated the Robert Young role in “Father Knows Best” — firm but fair, and unfailingly optimistic. True, Reagan had a disconcerting habit of conflating film scripts with reality: talking feelingly, for example, of his experiences liberating Nazi death camps at the end of World War II, which never happened. […] To an America still nursing a Woodstock, Kent State, Vietnam and Watergate hangover, Reagan’s performance was reassuring. […] George W. Bush’s epic failures came about largely because, unlike Reagan, whose fealty to right-wing ideology was at best inconsistent, he put dogmatic “Reaganism” into action. Hence the Tea Party, an otherworldly faction greatly reminiscent of daffy ’60s leftists who argued that Marxism hadn’t really failed because true Communism had never been tried. […] Reagan increased payroll taxes in 1983. History records that, alarmed by spiraling deficits, he signed tax increases during six of his eight years in office. Even so, his administration tripled the national debt, to almost $3 trillion. Consistent with the GOP’s faith-based War on Arithmetic, his acolyte Dubya then redoubled the debt to $10.4 trillion, leaving a $1.4 trillion yearly deficit. Note to the Tea Party: Had President Clinton’s tax policies remained in place since 2001, the national debt GOP politicians pretend to agonize over would no longer exist.” The full post.

Here’s how the Rude Pundit summed up the man in his 2004 elegy: “This country, this world will never get over the destruction wrought by this man. Practically every awful thing going on in this country can be traced, in one way or another, to Reagan. Soldiers are dying in Iraq right now because of this man, because of his insane support for dictators, for turning a blind eye to genocide and madness. A decade behind in AIDS research? The power of the religious right in making public policy? The war on feminism? We’re just scratchin’ the surface of the repeated rapings of this country by Reagan’s re-defining conservatism to the right, which dragged the rest of the nation, the rest of the political spectrum with it. He made liberal a dirty word. He opened the regulatory books for industries to rewrite them in their image. He presided over the other greatest intelligence failure, when we “missed” the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union. And we’re not even talkin’ yet about Iran-Contra, the second part of the Republican trifecta of massive abuse of power (Watergate being first, and the Iraq war being third). Reagan was a goddamned cancer, but he could sell it, like an old time preacher, with a twinkle in his eye and a promise of greater days tomorrow; he was like a suave Greek pimp who will sell you a syphilitic Turkish whore – sure, you’ll get your rocks off, but, oh, how you’ll pay, motherfucker, oh, how you’ll pay.” The full elegy.

Watch the 60 Minutes interview from back in 1975, just before Reagan’s first run at the presidency:

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Chart Porn: Demise of American Manufacturing?

Mark Perry in the American Enterprise Institute blog, by way of Kyle Russell’s sudo exec: “We hear all the time about the “decline of U.S. manufacturing” (84,000 Google hits) and “the death of American manufacturing” (15,400 Google hits). Similarly, there are frequent claims that “nothing is made in America anymore,” because all of the manufacturing jobs and production have been outsourced to places like China, Mexico, and Korea. Such claims about U.S. manufacturing have been circulating so persistently and for so long, that most people now blindly accept these myths, even though the empirical evidence provides a completely different story—a thriving and growing U.S. manufacturing sector. While it is true that the United States has lost more than 7 million manufacturing jobs since the late 1970s, that’s happened at the same time that U.S. manufacturing output has continued to expand and grow to new record levels almost every year. And in comparison to other countries, the United States remains by far the world’s largest manufacturer. The chart below of the world’s top eight countries for manufacturing output, using international data on global output from the United Nations, helps to tell the ongoing success story of America’s manufacturing sector.”

manufacturing united states china europe chart

Click on the chart for larger view.

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Rick Scott, School Bully

Noted on Flagler County School Board member Colleen Conklin’s Facebook wall Thursday morning: “Hmmm, did anyone catch the name changes in the Governors budget? The Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) in now the Florida Education Choice Fund? Hmm, doesn’t a bully use name calling tactics??

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What Muslim Brothers Want

Essam el-Errian is a member of the guidance council of the Egyptian Brotherhood in Egypt. He writes in The Times: “We have repeatedly tried to engage with the political system, yet these efforts have been largely rejected based on the assertion that the Muslim Brotherhood is a banned organization, and has been since 1954. It is seldom mentioned, however, that the Egyptian Administrative Court in June 1992 stated that there was no legal basis for the group’s dissolution. […] We aim to achieve reform and rights for all: not just for the Muslim Brotherhood, not just for Muslims, but for all Egyptians. We do not intend to take a dominant role in the forthcoming political transition. We are not putting forward a candidate for the presidential elections scheduled for September. […] As our nation heads toward liberty, however, we disagree with the claims that the only options in Egypt are a purely secular, liberal democracy or an authoritarian theocracy. Secular liberal democracy of the American and European variety, with its firm rejection of religion in public life, is not the exclusive model for a legitimate democracy. In Egypt, religion continues to be an important part of our culture and heritage. Moving forward, we envision the establishment of a democratic, civil state that draws on universal measures of freedom and justice, which are central Islamic values. We embrace democracy not as a foreign concept that must be reconciled with tradition, but as a set of principles and objectives that are inherently compatible with and reinforce Islamic tenets. The tyranny of autocratic rule must give way to immediate reform: the demonstration of a serious commitment to change, the granting of freedoms to all and the transition toward democracy. The Muslim Brotherhood stands firmly behind the demands of the Egyptian people as a whole.” The full column.

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Mobile Benefits Program Gets $10,000

From the Flagler Chamber of Commerce: “Intracoastal Bank and eight of its Executive Board Members came together to donate $10,000.00 to the Mobile Benefits Program: A Flagler County Outreach. Bruce Page, President and Chief Executive Officer at Intracoastal Bank, presented the check to Doug Baxter, President of the Flagler Chamber, during the Chamber’s annual installation dinner on January 21. […] The Mobile Benefits Program: A Flagler County Outreach is designed to help capture a portion of the millions of unclaimed federal dollars for Food Stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP benefits) in Flagler County. These unclaimed dollars could be made available to the growing number of local residents in need, while simultaneously boosting the local economy. […] The Flagler County Chamber of Commerce & Affiliates, United Way of Volusia-Flagler Counties, Florida Department of Children and Families, Center for Business Excellence and Second Harvest North Florida and other community members collaborated to launch this initiative. The community investment required is $57,000 per year for two years, after which time Second Harvest will assume full responsibility for project funding. This investment could potentially generate more than $800,000 in benefits for eligible households per year, and have a significant impact on local retail spending.”

Watch Sandy Mullen describe the program:

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Stoning Happy Valentine Couples

From ONN, our co-favorite news source:
Annual Valentine’s Day Stoning Of Happy Couple Held

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Yankees, Eat Your Heart Out

From the Wall Street Journal: “Saturday’s soccer match between Manchester United and Manchester City of the English Premier League, a game known as the “Manchester Derby,” is likely to be played in the sort of bleak and drizzly weather conditions one might expect. But this won’t be just another regularly-scheduled whistle stop on the British soccer calendar. It will be the richest match played in any sport, at any time, anywhere on the planet Earth. According to analyst estimates, team statements and media reports, the players on the field and on the two benches in the Manchester Derby will have cost their teams roughly $850 million to acquire, or about as much as NASA spent to refurbish the Hubble Telescope. Those numbers should prove comforting to baseball fans who are worried about the profligacy of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. When those teams meet, there’s only about $380 million in player investments on display. In pro football, the NFL record belongs to the free-spending Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, who met twice this season. But the total only came to about $350 million.

[…] The Derby’s reign at the top of the money pile won’t last long. Next month’s match between Manchester City and Chelsea will shoot past it to set a new combined record of about $900 million. By the time Manchester United and Chelsea (combined player investment: over $800 million) square off in two upcoming matches this season, the Derby will have fallen to fourth-place on the all-time list. These records reflect a wave of spending by English clubs this year during the recently completed period known as the “transfer window,” when teams in the EPL can juggle their rosters. Unlike North American team sports, soccer clubs don’t just acquire players for the cost of their salaries. They’re also expected to pay the player’s current club an additional “transfer fee.” […] These financial records may not be broken any time soon. Beginning next season, the first effects of European soccer’s new rules on spending, known as the Financial Fair Play regulations, will ripple through the free-spending front offices of the world’s best-known clubs. The rules will largely prohibit clubs from spending more than they earn in revenue.” The full story.

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A Few Good Links

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1 Response for “Ronald Reagan Fetish, Rick Scott Bully, Stoning Valentine Couples: The Live Wire”

  1. NortonSmitty says:

    Can’t believe all you Conervatrons are going to let that Reagan bashing go without comment. I guess it’s as I always thought, you never really believed the Horseshit du Jour, it was just trendy at the time, like Palin or Lohan.

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