Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Idi Amin's Briefs Rodeo

Note: every week, news aggregators address hundreds of worthwhile stories or opinions that never catch on, either because they lack an obvious follow-up or because sites that live off ad revenue would rather bang high-traffic drums over and over. Idi Amin's Briefs Rodeo provides a summary of good stuff you might have missed. He has a Bachelor's degree in political science, the rank of Field Marshal and was the last ruler of a free Uganda. He has not eaten anyone since 1980.

Cut-Pains Courageous; Rep. by Divine Right; and 'How, Redman — Put Down That Firewater'

The Guardian wonders why the Republicans' budget, from gee-whiz kid Paul Ryan, which balances the budget over a very long period of time via radically slashing social services, is called "courageous" in the American media, while the Congressional Progressive Caucus's budget, which balances the budget much faster and in a fair manner, is all but ignored.

Courageous is an old refrain, and it's the wrong one. Ryan's budget plan has been touted for over a year, with stuff like "analysis of it" only reluctantly dragged into mainstream discussion in the last month. The New Republic's Jonathan Chait even went so far as to bite his magazine's GOP overlords by noting that Ryan used to justify the exact same tax cuts to avoid a budget surplus. Regardless, there's nothing courageous about rephrasing Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign platform. Celebrating tax cuts in America is a gesture of the moral castrati. A really ballsy gesture involves vowing to keep one's promises even to American citizens who lack deep campaign paychecks and vowing to do so by putting the soft screws to someone in a bespoke suit and Sulka tie.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Black Caucus has released an almost completely ignored budget proposal that's so good you should fucking cry, because nothing close to it will ever be enacted. By the reasoning of Beltway "common sense," it's probably because black people are cowards.

California considers giving itself the ability to block unreasonable rate increases in health insurance, something that states and the Federal government inexplicably do not have the power to do currently. This lack of oversight is critically important not just because of the health insurance reform bill, which commits the Federal government to pay for a certain percentage of many family's premiums to keep their costs down personally, but because they can already do this with auto insurance and homeowner insurance rates.

Of course, every light at the end of the progressive tunnel is dimmed by some kind of countering regression in California, thanks to the odious manacles of Proposition 13. For instance, one third of residents in Tulare County, California, are so impoverished that they receive state aid, which the state naturally cannot afford. Just months after California Democrats stopped playing the Dead Kennedy's "California Uber Alles" in electoral victory nostalgia, Governor Jerry "Friend of the Unions" Brown and state Republicans consider further service cuts, while insisting that they aren't being cruel people because tax dollars might not be spent to 100% efficiency. After all, there's unspecified fraud in these "giveaway" programs intended to stave off hunger in malnourished children, and like all things that aren't perfect, we must destroy them. The programs or the children. It doesn't really matter.

The EPA is planning to release information soon about its classification of coal ash as a hazardous substance, while energy executives are revving up to tell us that, were it not for suffocation risks, we could be immersed in coal ash and be totally fine.

Florida voted to severely restrict abortion rights on the assumption that women are too stupid to know what's going on with their own bodies, and that a fetus might develop a heartbeat after a certain amount of time (emphases mine):
Democrat Rep. Daphne Campbell of Miami broke ranks, voting with Republicans after citing the biblical "Thou shall not kill" commandment from the Torah.

Democratic Rep. Scott Randolph of Orlando, a vocal opponent of the GOP-sponsored abortion bills, was so upset with Campbell for siding with Republicans that he told her he'd get an opponent to unseat her in two years, The Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times reported.

"You have no right. God put me here," Campbell retorted.

In Maine, a Paul LePage appointee actually resigned because of racist comments, instead of complaining that people were offended. Evidently he didn't get the GOP memo that the real racists are people who are so racist in thought that they can recognize or otherwise detect racist language or actions. LePage's stooge should have just doubled down, used twice as many slurs and dared other people to admit that they knew what they meant. Instead, he left his "get off the reservation" and "affirmative action is destroying colleges" statements stand on their own, lashed some smallpox blankets to the back of a non-colored horse, and rode into the sunset.