Monday, February 04, 2013

Lights Out in New Orleans

I was thinking about the great quarterbacks in the history of the Forty Niners - John Brodie, Joe Montana, Steve Young, - and I was prepared to add this year's mid season starter to the list, a guy with the rather cumbersome name of Colin Kaepernick as last night's Superbowl wound to a climax. But then, the Niners failed to get their final needed score despite their screams for a holding penalty on the defending Baltimore Ravens, and the hero instead became their quarterback, Joe Flacco (Italian, or something else?). I'm now prepared to say that it was the greatest football game of all time that included a half hour delay caused by problems with the lights. For the Forty Niners, maybe next year. For my part, I maintained the family tradition of watching big Sunday events with the sound off. Makes me feel purer for a day or so.

Because of delays in the House vote on Sandy aid to certain Northeastern states, they had to vote again in the Senate. Thirty six senators voted for NO aid to those whining, bagel-eating Democratic-voting Yankees as long as there isn't some kind of give-back to balance out all this help. All thirty six "no's" are Republicans. We'll see if they sing a different tune the next time there's a hurricane in Florida, a tornado in Kansas or a drought in Texas. I'm guessing that when those folks get the disaster, their GOP senators will be at the front of the line crying for help.

Bobby Jindal, governor of the Pelican State (Louisiana) is a Republican with some chance, they say, of being the Party's next presidential candidate. I haven't forgotten the hapless Romney campaign yet, so all this talk seems a bit premature. But big shot party members gathered last week to try to determine the Party's future, and Jindal said that they should stop being "the party of stupid."
There's some evidence that Jindal is not stupid. He proposes that Louisiana do away with the state income tax altogether. Of course, that raises the question of  how to pay for all the state's legal obligations for school, health care and everything else. Jindal's plan is to double the state's sales tax. Great. Let rich folks off the hook completely, and make poor folks pay for their own aid by bearing the biggest share of what is the most regressive (tougher on poor people) type of tax. Sure, rich people buy plenty of things, too, but as a percentage of their income they buy less

Finally, there's the latest "steal the election" plan being eyed by certain specific states - those with state GOP-run government that nevertheless voted for Obama in this last election. Our Constitution lets states decide how their presidential electoral votes are allocated. Most (48 now) simply award the votes to the leading vote getter, even if it is not a majority. But two states, Maine and Nebraska, for reasons of their own, award the votes based on majorities in each congressional district, thus allowing a split electoral vote.  
The states looking at this option (PA, VA, MI, WI, FL, OH, and a couple of others) would simply use the post-2010 redistricted boundaries to allow GOP votes to, in effect, count more than Democratic votes. If that sounds odd, it's the system that allowed the Republicans to maintain a 33-seat majority in the House despite being outvoted for House seats by 1.5 million nationwide.
Of course, there's one other big IF. If you try this, there is a good chance of a howling protest by both state citizens and courts wanting to know how a minority ruled system is what the Founding Fathers set up. This last part has, in fact, made state GOP officeholders a little hesitant about trying to ram through such a big change. Most, for now (the exception is PA), are backing away. I guess that would get us back to the old plan - make 'em all show ID's, and make sure the line to the polls keeps 'em standing there a long time.


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