"The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously."
"Government is the means by which all the people, acting together, do for themselves, those things in which they cannot do one by one. That is the great principle of government. The things that government must do has changes as human society has changed. But that principle remains the same."
"It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped."

- Hubert H. Humphrey, May 27, 1911-Jan. 13, 1978


Poor Newt

Poor Newt. No, really, I mean, poor Newt.  Reuters is reporting that Newt’s network of intertwined  consulting companies and associated book and DVD sales is mired in debt, alongside the $4.8 million in campaign debt.  Consequently, Newt’s empire is facing bankruptcy in Atlanta bankruptcy court.

Reading the reporting, one can’t help but wonder how much advantage Newt and his various wives have taken of the American legal system in order to build out the empire.  One also can’t help but wonder how much Newt will actually suffer as a result of his fast-and-loose wheeling and dealing.

Read the Reuter’s reporting:

112th Congress: Lowered Expectations

The Sunlight Foundation released a study today that shed some light on the speaking ability of our members of Congress. It used standard measures of language complexity to identify, by individual and by party affiliation, which members of congress had the highest and lowest scores. Additionally, it compared those scores with the scores of 2005.

The infographic may be pretty but the results of the comparison are not:

A couple of notable points:

  • The lowest point on the chart in the infographic is in 2011, the first year that all the tea party freshmen took to the floor.
  • The overall grade score has gone down a full grade since 2005.
  • The bottom ten scores all belong to Republicans; eight of those ten lowest scores belong to first-term Republicans.

The complete results of the analysis are available at the Sunlight Foundation website.


Main Street vs. Bain Street

When President Obama, speaking today in Chicago at the NATO Summit, was asked about Cory Booker’s comments on Meet the Press on Sunday, he used the opportunity to question the applicability of Mitt Romney’s record and experience at Bain Capital.

The President sums it up:

“When you’re President, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot.”

I’ve been harping on this for a while now.

There is no logic that I can think of that justifies Romney’s assertion that experience managing a private equity firm is the skill set needed to be President of the United States. Are there significant components related to finance that are part of a president’s job? Of course. But if one makes the same decisions as a president that one would as a private equity firm manager, one excludes most of America from the mix.

On the campaign trail, Romney is hiding from his record as Governor of Massachusetts so, if anything, the single-focus of business experience that Romney is touting as his primary selling point only proves how well rounded he isn’t.

Virtually lost in today’s hubbub about Cory Booker’s statements and President Obama’s response to them is the fact that the President was addressing a NATO summit.  Although this barely got reported on today, he spoke of strengthening the commitment of our NATO partners with regard to Afghanistan, he reminded us of the U.S. and NATO role in helping to overthrow Gaddhafi and to get Libya farther down the road to peace and prosperity, and he addressed the subject of European missile defense and the role that it plays in combating terrorism.

Considering the import of the issues being discussed at that conference, could a more stark contrast be drawn with the myopic campaign tactics of Mitt Romney?

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Boundless Disingenuousness

Politicians are known for playing fast and loose with the truth, and they do it so frequently that our media often don’t challenge them on the spot. But sometimes they say things that are so outrageous, so patently false or skewed, that leaving it unchallenged is an outrage in itself.

Cut to today’s Face the Nation, in which Senate Minority Leader Mitch (“the Turtle”) McConnell made the following statement:

“We’d like to do something about the nation’s biggest problem, spending and debt, which is, of course, the reason for this economic malaise and this high unemployment. And whenever the President is willing to engage, we’re ready to go.”

Someone please hit the pause button.

Does anyone else interpret this statement as blaming the problem for the problem?

How many times does it need to be said?  The debt came from two unfunded wars and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  And no matter how much Republicans complain about the current administration not fixing the mess, it doesn’t change the fact that the mess that they’re complaining about is largely of their own making.

There were eight years – two complete terms – of a Republican administration that got us into this mess.  And now they’re complaining because Obama hasn’t fixed it all in less than one term (a term during which Republicans did everything in their power and then some to obstruct any progress that might be made).  The “reason for this economic malaise and this high unemployment” is that the policies of the previous administration plummeted our nation into the worst economic situation since the great depression.  Republicans now try to distance themselves from the previous administration — so much so that they don’t even want to say the previous president’s name.

Well, I’ll say it.  George W. Bush.  George W. Bush.  GEORGE W. BUSH!

When children behave in such an irrational way, they get grounded or sent to the naughty chair.  Why isn’t there an equivalent punishment for this kind of hypocrisy?

Mitch McConnell, I hereby take away your cell phone and your internet privileges.