Thursday, January 3, 2013

Out with the Old

So, we have a new congress being sworn-in today:
A new Congress takes office Thursday, and many of the same difficult issues that snagged the last one will fall into its lap.

President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill to avert the fiscal cliff, a deal worked out after lengthy, grinding friction between Democrats and Republicans. The political theatrics kept Americans and people around the world on pins and needles over how the outcome would affect the shaky global economy.
After the last congress, a scene out of William Golding's Lord of the Flies would be an improvement. And, after the president so deftly cleaved the House GOP in two over the fiscal cliff curb, I would expect this GOP majority to be a bit less strident than the last one.

And, credit where it's due, Chris Gibson voted against the crazies in his caucus and supported the bill. So, it couldn't hurt to give his office a call and let him know that this is a good step in the right direction if he truly intends to moderate his indefensible right-wing views. Be polite, but let him know you'll be watching how he votes in the future.

On the immediately local level, things turned out well for our free-spending legislative chair:
Terry Bernardo, re-elected on Wednesday to lead the Ulster County Legislature, laid out a plan for the coming year that relies heavily on special committees to carry out a number of her initiatives, including making Ulster County “the most drug-free county in the nation.”

Bernardo, R-Accord, was elected to a second one-year term as chairwoman, defeating former Legislature Chairman and current Minority Leader David Donaldson, D-Kingston, in a 13-8 vote.

All Republican legislators, along with Democrat John Parete, D-Boiceville, voted for Bernardo. All other Democrats voted for Donaldson, except Richard Parete, D-Accord, and Robert Parete, D-Stone Ridge, who were absent.
Her hangers-on will have another year to feed at the public trough. And notice, too, that she wants to create all these extra-constitutional super committees, chaired no doubt by flunkies she can control. Now THAT'S democracy in action.

Good to see that the county Democrats have finally woken up, all except the reprehensible Paretes, who vote based upon what's best for their political future, and not what's best for those whom they represent.

Gonna be another year of Bernardo missteps and flubs, so I should have plenty to keep me busy.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

As Predicted, House GOP Takes the Northeast Hostage

Remember what I said about the House refusing to vote for a single dime of relief for Hurricane Sandy? Well, here's one instance in which I hate to be right:
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio indicated late Tuesday the 112th Congress would end its term without voting on federal emergency aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy.

"The speaker is committed to getting this bill passed this month," Boehner's spokesman, Brendan Buck, said in an email.

Buck also emailed a news article reporting that Craig Fugate, head of the the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said his agency will not need additional money until spring.

FEMA money will not cover everything needed by states hit by Sandy. Other needs include claims filed under the National Flood Insurance Program, repairs to mass transit and Community Development Block grants needed to help localities rebuild.

Lawmakers from Northeast states had hoped the House would vote Wednesday on the $60.4 billion aid package that passed the Senate on Friday.
Again, as predicted, the Lunatic Caucus has decided we're all a bunch of moochers and we don't deserve any relief. Notice, also, that GOP members of congress from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida actually supported this bill, as they know full well theirs could be the next state in line for storm relief.

And you know you've jumped the shark when the uber-right-wing Peter King calls you a bunch of idiots:
"It's absolutely disgraceful," King said on CNN. "People in my party, they wonder why they're becoming a minority party. They're writing off New York, they're writing off New Jersey. Well, they've written me off, and they're gonna have a hard time getting my vote, I can tell you that."

King said that Republicans have no problem finding New York when they want to raise money. In light of Tuesday's inaction, King said, anyone from New York or New Jersey who contributes to the National Republican Congressional Committee should have their "head examined."
The Tea Party people are lunatics and nihilists. They want only to destroy. They cannot lead. They cannot govern. They hate government. Well, what the hell are you doing running for public office if you hate government?

And we're beginning to see some serious dissent when it comes to Boehner holding on to the speaker's gavel. But who would replace him? Cantor? Ryan? Maybe they could run Michele Bachmann for speaker? Wouldn't that be fun?

Or, and this is a stretch, I realize, is it possible to peel off 17-20 votes from the saner members of the House GOP to vote for a compromise speaker, say someone like Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer? Or, and here's another stretch, could the House GOP elect someone who isn't a member of Congress? It's a pretty wild idea, I realize, but, believe it or not, one does not need to be a member of congress to be elected speaker. It's never happened before, of course. But that's not to say it never could.

All I know is, Boehner is in deep trouble. The new congress convenes on Thursday of this week. Expect a three-ring circus.