Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hypocrisy Task Force

I'm loving this article from the Times Record News about Congressman Blackburn's new 10th Amendment Task Force... (and holler to my alma mater!)...

Task force pleads Tenth

Lawmakers seek to keep mandates at bay

WASHINGTON — Violation of the Constitution. Mas­sive, hostile takeover. A dangerous situation.

Tenth Amendment enthu­siasts are sounding an alarm not as old as “The British are coming!” but one heard many times in America’s history.

These enthusiasts are worried about keeping ma­rauding hordes of federal mandates at bay. San An­gelo Congressman Mike Conaway and Abilene Con­gressman Randy Neuge­bauer are among 10 conser­vative House Republicans who recently formed the Tenth Amendment Task Force to do just that.

“We are pretty fierce de­fenders of the Tenth Amend­ment,” Conaway said.

In case you’ve forgotten high school government class, the Tenth Amend­ment basically says, what­ever powers the Constitu­tion doesn’t give to the fed­eral government or bar the states from having belong to the states or the people.

This idea — powers div­vied up between a central government and states — is also known as “federalism.” The task force’s stance sounds familiar from way back to a pair of experts on federalism and the law.

Politicians have raised those same concerns, when convenient, going back to debates about slavery in the 1800s and civil rights in the 1960s, said the experts from Washington-based George Washington University.

“It’s a rare politician, I find, who has a real com­mitment to federalism,” Jonathan R. Siegel, a GWU law professor, said.

It’s a great idea to con­sider how the federal gov­ernment’s actions affect states, Siegel said.

“I think what’s really happening is when people are against something the federal government wants to do, suddenly they’re all interested in states’ rights,” Siegel said. “When they support what the federal government wants to do, suddenly they don’t care so much.”

Republicans have sought a federal law requiring all states to recognize certain gun permits issued by other states, Siegel said. They also wanted a constitutional amendment defining marriage.

Democrats have histori­cally supported federal ac­tion, GWU constitutional law professor Peter J. Smith said in a separate telephone interview. But the left pro­tested the No Child Left Be­hind Act, saying it shackled states’ educational process.

It’s no secret Republi­cans hope to gain control of the House through mid­term elections. Back in the 1990s, when Republicans retook the House, they ran in part on a platform of giv­ing power back to the states, Smith said.

“Then they proceeded after taking office to propose nationalizing all tort law and regulating abortion from the federal level,” he said.

Conaway doesn’t appear to be a fan of nationalizing anything. The Midland Re­publican said the task force could make a difference by educating the public about the Tenth Amendment.

“The Tenth Amendment idea is very powerful in and of itself, and so the more people who know it and un­derstand it, then the easier it will be to help avoid viola­tions of it,” Conaway said.

The task force’s con­cerns should resonate with Tea Party support­ers who call for limited government and with oth­ers, including the Tenth Amendment Center’s pro­ponents.

The self-styled “nation­al think tank” and activ­ism promoter has a Texas contingent headed by state coordinator Brian Roberts, a 38-year-old Dallas-area entrepreneur who runs a software company.

Roberts is firm about states’ power, but he’s not a secessionist.

“If states individually are able to do what they need to do, there’s abso­lutely no reason for seces­sion at all,” Roberts said.

For Neugebauer, health care reform mandating Americans must buy in­surance or pay a penalty sounded an alarm.

“Many members, in­cluding myself, are very concerned about this mas­sive hostile takeover by the government of the liberties and freedoms of the Ameri­can people,” the Republi­can from Lubbock said.

McMurry University political science professor Paul Fabrizio said the goal of the task force is admi­rable. Clearly, the Abilene­-based professor said, the balance of federalism has been moving toward the federal government for a long time. “It’s what we call creep­ing federalism, and some would argue it’s now gallop­ing federalism with more and more power going to the federal government,” Fabrizio said.

The federal government’s power is growing because the American people and the states are willing to ac­cept federal money spent on their behalf, Fabrizio said.

“That’s the part of the equation that I think people aren’t talking about."

People don’t want the federal government in their lives, but they want the fed­eral government’s money, he said.

“I would imagine that most people in Abilene want Dyess Air Force Base here,” Fabrizio said. “They want the spending that comes from that.”

Social Security pay­ments, farm subsidies and federal stimulus funds are all from the federal govern­ment.

“The crushing reality that we all face is that the federal government has money, which it basically prints, and so to accomplish things, we need its help,” Fabrizio said.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Marsha Blackburn celebrates Earth Day

In true Blackburn-fashion, the Congressman celebrates our planet the best way she knows how...

EPA Stands In The Way Of Recovery
Washington, Apr 22 - Reprinted From The Hill

Not far from my district the Spring Hill plant sits idle. GM pulled out of Spring Hill, once the proud home to the Saturn line, in the wake of its bankruptcy last year. At a listening session with constituents who live in the 7th district and used to commute to work in Spring Hill, the message was clear: to get the plant up and running again, Washington is going to have to do ... less.

Washington, or more specifically the Environmental Protection Agency, poses a significant challenge to any new enterprise that hopes to revitalize Spring Hill and Tennessee’s economy. While Tennesseans are looking for a new owner to come in, take over the Spring Hill plant and get it producing again, the EPA has proposed a series of regulations that would require businesses to certify they have limited carbon emissions or pay steep fines. These regulations are a result of their “endangerment finding” under the Clean Air Act that carbon dioxide and other green house gasses pose a threat to human life.

The new greenhouse gas rules will require anyone who buys the Spring Hill plant and performs any modifications on it — which they will likely have to do — to analyze all the greenhouse gas emissions from the plant and from all its potential new processes. Any new owner will have to report these emissions to the EPA. All the while, Tennesseans remain jobless.

Most possible uses for the Spring Hill plant would cause the plant to exceed the 25,000 annual tons of carbon dioxide emissions the EPA proposes to allow, classifying it as a “major emitter.” Major emitters must go through additional review and permitting by the EPA, a process that could take months or years.

To add to the cost, the EPA will require major emitters to purchase and install the “best available control technology” to reduce emissions to an acceptable level. Even when that equipment is installed, the new owner isn’t done with EPA-imposed costs. Because the EPA found that the Clean Air Act applies to carbon dioxide, any new owners of the Spring Hill plant are open to being sued if the carbon capture technology fails or the plant ever exceeds the EPA emission ceiling. Such a specter of unanticipated cost would hang over the plant for its entire operational life. While potential new owners calculate the possible cost, Tennesseans go jobless.

As Washington works to balance economic impact with the need to spur energy independence, the EPA lurks on the Hill with these disastrous carbon restrictions in its briefcase, threatening to detonate them on the economy in the event that the Senate doesn’t meet its minimum standard of economy-killing carbon limits. Its actions are a clear executive overreach.

My bill, H.R. 391, would void the EPA’s endangerment finding and prohibit the agency from regulating carbon under the Clean Air Act. It would clear the way for new owners to move to Tennessee, repurpose the Spring Hill plant, and begin hiring. Without it, the prospect of job-killing bureaucratic regulation will be a persistent specter, haunting the plans of those who can help this economy grow.

I believe that the EPA has seriously overstepped its original mandate. It has done so in pursuit ever more bureaucratic power and at the cost of our national economy. On Earth Day, Congress should take a close look at the EPA, what it has achieved and at what cost. I am taking a stand against its latest overreach with H.R. 391 and I encourage my colleagues to follow suit.

This woman is ridiculous. She takes an opportunity like Earth Day, when she could be leading the way in some sort of positive direction, to tell us that the government is doing too much to help our environment. Is she even living on Earth? ON WHAT PLANET IS SHE LIVING?!!! SOMEONE, TELL ME!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On a more substantive level

Check on the highlights of this past Sunday's Meet the Press...

ain't no dodgeball here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I'm likin' this

I'll catch the rewind after work... from The Hill...

Blackburn questions Bachmann's rhetoric, Rendell criticizes Tea Party
By Tony Romm - 04/18/10 11:15 AM ET

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Sunday all but criticized her colleage, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), for using the phrase "gangster government" at a Tea Party rally earlier this month.

While Blackburn would not condemn those remarks during a roundtable on NBC's "Meet the Press," she did say "it would not have been a choice in words I made."

"Those are words that she chose, those are statements she made," Blackburn said, later transition into a defense of the Tea Party movement.

"What we have to forcus on is Tea Party individuals," the congresswoman said, noting they were, "very, very, very concerned about what is happening to this country. They're not looking at government today, they're looking at what it will be [years from now]."

However, Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) earlier cast the Tea Party movement in a far different light. Also appearing during the roundtable, the former head of the Democratic National Committee said the media are giving "the Tea Party too much credit."

"If I organized a rally for a stronger law to protect puppies, I'd get 100,000 people at that rally," he said. "So I think the media has blown [the Tea Party] out of proportion."

On a related note... It was recently pointed out to me that approx 6-10,000 people showed up for Sarah Palin in Boston, while turnout for the pro-marijuana rally is usually around 30,000.

The basics

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

So, on TV this evening, I saw this...

and it made me think of this...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Where my girrrl at?

From the Nashville Scene....

To Media's Delight, Palin-Bachmann Team Up But Where's Blackburn?

Did you hear about the fabulous Sarah Palin/Michele Bachmann rally in Minneapolis yesterday? Talk about star power! They are right-wing women, hear them roar! God is just an abbreviation for Goddess, you know.

"As absolutely drop-dead gorgeous as this woman is on the outside, I am here to testify she is 20 times more beautiful on the inside," Bachmann said of Palin. And Palin called Bachmann a "fireball."

Palin vowed that this is the year "conservative women get together and take back this country."

As Pith watched, we couldn't help but feel a little sorry for our own Republican feminist champion—Marsha Blackburn. She's every bit as drop-dead gorgeous inside and out as Palin and Bachmann, isn't she? And she's definitely just as wacky, if not more so. She's a fireball too, dammit! Yet no one's talking about her this morning. While clips from the Palin-Bachmann rally play endlessly on the morning talk shows, Blackburn is trudging around her district, talking to little gatherings of cranks and geezer constituents. An article in the Buffalo River Review—that's her big media splash of the week. It's so unfair.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How little progress is too much progress?

From the Leaf Chronicle...

Blackburn pushes Clean Air Act change

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn told leaders of Bridgestone Metalpha USA Inc. Wednesday that legislation she has proposed will help major producers avoid language in the Clean Air Act that she says "punishes" factories.

Blackburn, who is in a campaign to retain her 7th Congressional District seat, is the first federal lawmaker to visit Bridgestone in Clarksville, and toured the International Drive plant where steel cords for radial tires are made.

Blackburn told Bridgestone Metalpha President and CEO Ken Yamasaki and plant manager Donna Bright that the current language of the Clean Air Act places an unfair burden — fees for too much carbon production — on manufacturers like Bridgestone.

She said the language was driven largely by environmentalists "who want to punish and send jobs to other parts of the world."

"(Companies) are not going to add jobs when there's that kind of fee," she said.

The proposed bill would amend the act to redefine carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride as not air pollutants. Some, like perfluorocarbons, do not harm the ozone layer, but are known as powerful greenhouse gases that retain heat in the atmosphere.

Yamasaki and Bright both said they were glad to have Blackburn visit but did not have any agenda or requests.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bachmann: The government shot its wad.

10 minutes of funnies...