Friday, September 28, 2007

Cornyn’s dishonest op-ed

Sen. John Cornyn had a thoroughly dishonest and disgusting op-ed in the Express-News today.

In Texas, we pride ourselves on taking care of those in need. It's only natural that we take such a strong interest in the well-being of our children...

Yeah, right. Texas ranks 37th in the U.S. in children’s healthcare. That’s certainly something to be proud about.
He goes on to mouth a bunch of garbage about he thinks reauthorizing SCHIP is such a big priority. But then he claims that the bill that just passed overwhelmingly in the Senate would be “disasterous.” Why? Because, he claims, it increases funding “at the expense of quality service, ease of access and state control.”

Bullshit. Where does he get this? By making the bogus argument that having more children eligible for SCHIP funding would burden doctors and reduce access and care. So what is he saying? That it is better for these kids to go without care so that others will have easier access? No wonder Texas ranks near dead last in children’s healthcare with that attitude!

Next Cornyn complains that under the new legislation a $1 billion surplus in the SCHIP fund that Texas is sitting on would be redistributed. But why is Texas, near dead last in child healthcare, being so stingy with its SCHIP money?

As a result of this careful application and decreased spending due to the economic downturn of 2003, Texas has about $1 billion in surplus SCHIP money to help children receive coverage.

But it’s NOT helping children receive coverage if it is being held onto as surplus. And just because there was an economic downturn doesn’t mean there was a corresponding downturn in children’s healthcare needs!

Healthcare is a business. If we put more money into the SCHIP program, more doctors will pop up and extend their hands to accept that money. I guarantee it. But if we don’t spend the money, then naturally the supply of doctors will diminish.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Senate veto-proof’s SCHIP

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) with a 69-30 veto-proof majority.
But in order to get that many Republicans to cross over, Democrats had to water the bill down considerably and abandon efforts to expand the vital program even further to cover children of legal immigrants and some young adults who don’t have health coverage.
The Democrats managed to pitch enough children over the side to satisfy Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. But it wasn’t enough for Texas’ other Senator, John Cornyn.
Cornyn, I have to say, has really surprised me since taking office. I really thought he was more of a moderate, mainstream Republican when he was elected and assumed he would be an improvement over the noxious right-wing hardliner Phil Gramm. But I was obviously mistaken as Cornyn set out from day one to align himself with the far-right of the Republican Party. And now, even in an election year when he will likely be facing a strong challenge from Democrat Rick Noriega, a decorated Iraq War veteran, Cornyn is not doing anything to moderate his positions. In fact, he seems to be grasping even harder to the fringe wing of his party.
I truly hope that the coming Democratic tidal wave of 2008 will flow down here in Texas again (like it did in 2006) and wash this sorry excuse for a Senator out of this hallowed office.

Republicans are broke

They are out of ideas, out of time and out of money.

A crucial GOP fundraising committee is nearly broke, according to its latest monthly filing with the Federal Election Committee last week.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) reported $1.6 million in cash on hand and $4 million in debts as of Aug. 31. The group helps bankroll House campaigns for GOP candidates.
Its counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, reported $22.1 million, more than 10 times its Republican counterpart.... 
Senate Republicans are in a state of relative poverty, also. The National Republican Senatorial Campaign has just over $7 million on hand, according to the new filings. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has more than $20 million.

The thing about Republican financiers is that they don’t like to waste their money. They are not going to give money to the GOP out of the goodness of their hearts. They are betting the Republicans are going to lose big time in 2008 and they don’t want to waste their money in that futile effort. So they are cutting them off now, which is in effect a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Nevertheless, Democrats had better not count on coasting to victory from here on out. They will still need to give it everything they’ve got to make sure that it stays a blowout election.
The rest of the presidential campaign season will simply be time for people to become accustomed to the idea that Hillary Clinton will be our next president.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Where the money goes

The Express-News editorialized about the children’s health care bill that President Bush is threatening to veto.

The plan, being debated in the House and Senate this week, would boost the program's current $25 billion budget to $60 billion over the next five years.
President Bush recommends a $5 billion increase over five years and has said he will veto anything over that amount.

Got that? Democrats want to boost children’s health care by $35 billion, but Bush says he will veto any increase over $5 billion because we can’t afford it.

Why can’t we afford the additional $30 billion?

That’s obvious. Because we need to to fund the never-ending war in Iraq, of course.

The Defense Department is seeking an additional $42.3 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing the total request for 2008 to nearly $190 billion, according to prepared testimony Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is to present to Congress this afternoon.

I’m glad we got that all straightened out.

Economic consequences of anti-immigrant hysteria

Interesting story in the NYTimes today.
A lot of towns that succumbed to the anti-immigrant hysteria last year have apparently seen it come back and bite them in the ass.

A little more than a year ago, the Township Committee in this faded factory town became the first municipality in New Jersey to enact legislation penalizing anyone who employed or rented to an illegal immigrant.
Within months, hundreds, if not thousands, of recent immigrants from Brazil and other Latin American countries had fled. The noise, crowding and traffic that had accompanied their arrival over the past decade abated.
The law had worked. Perhaps, some said, too well.
With the departure of so many people, the local economy suffered. Hair salons, restaurants and corner shops that catered to the immigrants saw business plummet; several closed. Once-boarded-up storefronts downtown were boarded up again.
Meanwhile, the town was hit with two lawsuits challenging the law. Legal bills began to pile up, straining the town’s already tight budget. Suddenly, many people — including some who originally favored the law — started having second thoughts.
So last week, the town rescinded the ordinance, joining a small but growing list of municipalities nationwide that have begun rethinking such laws as their legal and economic consequences have become clearer.