November 21, 2015

Worth a look

From the NY Times, here's an interesting analysis of the American political scene, including those high-poverty areas that have flipped in recent years.

November 19, 2015

To pander or to lead?

A number of WV politicians, like many others across the nation, are falling all over themselves to try to block the entrance of refugees from Syria, many of which are children, from entering the state.

A recent Bloomberg Poll shows that a majority of Americans likewise oppose admitting the refugees. But you know what? Sometimes it's more important to be right than to be popular. Pandering to xenophobia is no doubt an easy gig, but there's no honor in it.

I prefer those who take a principled stand, like NY Congressman Eliot Engel, who had this (and more) to say:

I read a poll the other day. The question was quote, “What’s your attitude towards allowing political refugees to come into the US?” unquote. Sixty-seven point four agreed with the response, “With conditions as they are, we should try to keep them out.” More than two thirds. “Try to keep them out.”
That poll was conducted in the summer of 1938. And the question in its entirety was, “What’s your attitude towards allowing German, Austrian and other political refugees to come into the US?” European Jews. More than two-thirds of Americans thought we should just close the gates just four months before Kristallnacht.

We know how that turned out.

My question: in retrospect, which group from 1938 would you rather have been a part of, the popular one or the right one?

Next question: how about today?

November 18, 2015

Not so fast?

Even while congressional Republicans continue to talk about repealing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, some are starting to hesitate at the idea of taking way expanded Medicaid coverage from what probably amounts to millions of people.

WV Senator Shelley Moore Capito was even quoted saying this: “I am very concerned about the 160,000 people who had Medicaid expansion in my state. I have difficulty with that being included.” I'm glad she feels that way. I hope more people on her side of the aisle do as well.

I guess that amounts to good news these days.


MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE COURTHOUSE...the Don Blankenship case is up to the jury now.

November 16, 2015

Sheep guts, then and now

In ancient times, the Greeks and Romans would practice augury, which meant seeking for signs on which course of action to take through various means. One method consisted of looking at sheep's intestines. Sometimes, if they didn't get the answer they wanted, they kept on cutting up sheep's guts until they they got it.

Recently, the Republican leadership of the WV legislature consulted the contemporary augurs, to wit, the WVU Bureau pf Business and Economic Research. Having a certain advantage over sheep, they came up with the desired answer right away.

The question was whether right-to-work-for-less legislation would be good for WV's economy. The political leadership wanted to hear a resounding "yes" and it got what it wanted.

Surely this has nothing to do with the fact that the Koch brothers recently gave $5 million to WVU, right?  Hmmmm. Maybe not. Maybe this was a good faith effort. But this isn't the first time plutocrats have bought shares in WVU or many other institutions of higher ed.

Meanwhile, stop calling me Shirley.