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  #1  
Old 03-26-2009, 01:48 PM
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Stupid Republican idea of the day


Regulating the First Lady

Quote:
House Republicans are pressing for a change in federal law that could force Michelle Obama and future first ladies to do more of their policy work in public. But Democrats warn President Obama may take the attempt personally “as an attack on his wife.”

The GOP effort is being led by the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), whose initial salvo was rebuffed recently at a contentious committee markup session. Under Issa’s amendment, any government policy group that Mrs. Obama or another first spouse regularly participates in would be subject to a law requiring meetings to be announced in advance and, in most instances, public.

...

Rep. William Clay (D-Mo.) suggested President Obama might see the legislation as a personal provocation that could trigger a fight. “Let me… caution my friend from California that, as you’re probably aware, this president is very guarded about his family,” Clay said. “I think that, no matter what you’re intending with this amendment, that the president may view this as an attack on his wife. And I’m just saying, you know, let’s be careful--if we want to open up that can of worms. Let’s not go in that direction.”

“We are trying actually to protect the historic role of the first lady,” Issa insisted, repeatedly invoking the “transparency” mantra of the Obama administration. “I believe this is open government at its finest.”

...

Aides told POLITICO that [Issa] plans to reintroduce the spousal provision either as an amendment to another bill or as freestanding legislation.
What the hell? So, they don't like Michelle's supporting girls in high school, vegetable gardens or military families? Or they just want to know what she's doing in advance so protesters can show up? What is the "historic role of the first lady" anyway? Have they ever heard of Eleanor Roosevelt? I know that criticizing the First Lady isn't off-limits, but legislating her behavior? Why are Republicans so eager to look so fucking stupid?
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Old 03-26-2009, 01:58 PM
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“We are trying actually to protect the historic role of the first lady,” Issa insisted, repeatedly invoking the “transparency” mantra of the Obama administration. “I believe this is open government at its finest.”
I guess I shouldn't read anything into the the fact that Issa has been in congress for years and he has only thought of this now?
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Old 03-26-2009, 01:58 PM
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If I thought they were being legit (which I do NOT):
1) Fight to keep the nepotism laws in effect
2) Reaction to Hillary's secret health care committee

In reality, it is partisan politics - but there is an argument that if the First Lady is going to be involved in running things, there should be some types of controls in place.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:03 PM
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I guess I shouldn't read anything into the the fact that Issa has been in congress for years and he has only thought of this now?
Your mistake is using the verb "thought" in relation to the compound proper noun "Darryl Issa". Never the twain shall meet.

This is the same guy who pushed the recall of Gray Davis as governor of California because he thought he could waltz right into Sacramento without serious challenge, then cried in public when Ahnold got the nod instead.

He's a weasel.

A really dumb weasel.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:08 PM
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In reality, it is partisan politics - but there is an argument that if the First Lady is going to be involved in running things, there should be some types of controls in place.
I understand you're only stating a devil's advocate position, but if she wasn't elected, and she's not on the federal payroll, then federal oversight of her 'position' is really inappropriate.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:10 PM
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I understand you're only stating a devil's advocate position, but if she wasn't elected, and she's not on the federal payroll, then federal oversight of her 'position' is really inappropriate.
The continuation of that train of thought is that if she is not elected, not on the Federal payroll, and has not been confirmed by the Senate, she should not be in charge of anything.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:14 PM
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I understand you're only stating a devil's advocate position, but if she wasn't elected, and she's not on the federal payroll, then federal oversight of her 'position' is really inappropriate.
I disagree. At least not is she is forging public policy. But, hell, I think that Cheney's energy policy meetings should have been public too.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:15 PM
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The continuation of that train of thought is that if she is not elected, not on the Federal payroll, and has not been confirmed by the Senate, she should not be in charge of anything.
Well, then, put in oversights of whatever committee-head she might become. Not oversights on the first lady.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:16 PM
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Oh, absolutely! Go after Michelle Obama, that's perfectly brilliant! Yessirree, Bob, thats a great idea!
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:16 PM
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The continuation of that train of thought is that if she is not elected, not on the Federal payroll, and has not been confirmed by the Senate, she should not be in charge of anything.
I wasn't aware that she was in charge of anything. My impression has been that she's been mostly Obama's PR stand-in, which IS a traditional "First Lady duty".
  #11  
Old 03-26-2009, 02:17 PM
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The continuation of that train of thought is that if she is not elected, not on the Federal payroll, and has not been confirmed by the Senate, she should not be in charge of anything.
But this is awfully behind the times of them. IIRC, Laura Bush was involved in literacy/education, and in women's issues overseas.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:18 PM
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The continuation of that train of thought is that if she is not elected, not on the Federal payroll, and has not been confirmed by the Senate, she should not be in charge of anything.
She's not in charge of anything.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:21 PM
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If something like that had been in place during the Reagan years would the public have gotten access to the readings from Nancy's astrologers?
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:22 PM
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And there still would be no highway beautification program.

And no one would have been acting President after Wilson's stroke.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:25 PM
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I wasn't aware that she was in charge of anything. My impression has been that she's been mostly Obama's PR stand-in, which IS a traditional "First Lady duty".
I honestly do not know. She is certainly highly qualified to do more than PR. First Ladies used to be known as PR / ribbon cutters (funny - that is what VPs were too in many administrations - they get funeral duty).

Hillary's work on health care raised the question of what IS the First Lady in terms of Federal Government oversight (from the OP's link):

Quote:
Issa’s amendment would have effectively overturned a 1993 federal appeals court decision which held that First Lady Hillary Clinton could be considered the equivalent of a federal employee. The court ruled that Clinton’s involvement in a presidential Health Care Task Force was not enough to render the group an outside advisory panel which had to meet in public and disclose its records. After the health reform effort cratered, the Clinton Administration gave up the legal fight and released the records.
In a perfect world, Issa would be helping to clean up the uncertainty of the role of the First Lady, as we begin to get more First Ladies that are qualified for policy work. He would be trying to make sure that if Hillary were elected, Bill would have a clean role to undertake without running afoul of Constitutional and other Federal Law concerns in regards to status. Issa would even be looking forward to the day when a Republican goes back into the White House and has a spouse ready for action as well.

Last edited by Algher; 03-26-2009 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:27 PM
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Apropos of nothing, but reading Issa's name always makes me think of a drunk Discworld inhabitant.

"Issa, issa, wossname."
__________________
"There's always a little dirt, or infinity, or something." -Feynman

Last edited by stolichnaya; 03-26-2009 at 02:27 PM. Reason: not a typo. clacks must've jammed.
  #17  
Old 03-26-2009, 02:31 PM
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Issa's only motivation is to harrass the Obama's and hope to contrive a political issue that Obama isn't being "transparent" enough. Obviously this has no chance to go anywhre -- it's not a serious or sincere attempt at real legislation (the last thing the Republicans would want is for an future Republican First couples to be saddled with this garbage). It's just about throwing rocks at the Obamas.

Barack should have this guy rendered to some Moroccan shithole for a couple of weeks.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:34 PM
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The continuation of that train of thought is that if she is not elected, not on the Federal payroll, and has not been confirmed by the Senate, she should not be in charge of anything.
She isn't. Michelle Obama has no legal authority.

The President can delegate any number of Presidential duties as he sees fit to the First Lady. He could just as well delegate them to you, or Brad Pitt, or his cat, providing he isn't assigning them to do a specific job that Congress has to approve, such as secretary of state or a similar post. There are some things he has to do himself and lots of specific positions that require Congressional vetting but things like "Hold meetings on the pet project of my choice" can be done by pretty much anyone he wants. As Algher's cite points out, the Supreme Court has already ruled on what would seem, at least to me, to be just common sense; that the President is allowed to hire people to accomplish tasks, and that if his wife volunteers to be an unpaid employee doing some of those tasks, there's nothing illegal about it and in fact it's been that way for ages. Ultimately, executive authority as stated in the Constitution is still his. He's on the hook for whatever his chosen agents do.

Last edited by RickJay; 03-26-2009 at 02:36 PM.
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:35 PM
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It's just political nonsense. If this is the Burning Issue, if this is the most serious "danger" there is, all I can say is:



hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah giggle hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah snort hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah wheeze hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah
  #20  
Old 03-26-2009, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by stolichnaya View Post
Apropos of nothing, but reading Issa's name always makes me think of a drunk Discworld inhabitant.

"Issa, issa, wossname."
He reminds me of Jar Jar Binks

Congressman Issa Dumbass..
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Old 03-26-2009, 02:53 PM
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"Issa, issa, wossname."
"Issa wossname. You know. Thingie. A play. They're pretendin' things."

From Sandman, "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
  #22  
Old 03-26-2009, 02:59 PM
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Apropos of nothing, but reading Issa's name always makes me think of a drunk Discworld inhabitant.

"Issa, issa, wossname."
This dickhead having that name upsets me because Issa is the name of one of my favorite singers (formerly Jane Siberry)
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:07 PM
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Stupid Republican idea of the day
I think the GOP's 19 page* Affirmational Federal Budget (pdf) might count as a second "Stupid Republican idea of the day":
Quote:
Instead of returning to double digit levels of inflation and the failed
economic policies of the 1970s, Republicans support maintaining the cost
of living after witnessing the booms and busts triggered by loose
monetary policy.
...
Instead of spending money on wasteful
programs under the guise of “stimulus” and
“investments,” Republicans seek to ensure that
the federal budget cannot grow faster than
families’ ability to pay the bill.
I really really really like that first "idea", but why does that second bit sound like pandering?




-------------------
*including cover page and back cover
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:11 PM
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I disagree. At least not is she is forging public policy. But, hell, I think that Cheney's energy policy meetings should have been public too.
That's what I was going to ask about. Why should an unelected, unofficial participant in government be subject to more stringent public reporting rules than the vice president? So, what are the requirements about policy groups that elected office-holders take part in?
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:32 PM
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Hell, give 'em a dose of overkill! Stream the meetings online, with transcripts published daily. They want transparency? We'll swamp them with transparency! Of course, we'll expect the same from them, its only fair, after all....
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Old 03-26-2009, 04:55 PM
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Now, now, we haven't even discussed the GOP's alternate budget proposal:
Quote:
Later, Norah O'Donnell asked Mike Pence to provide basic details, to no avail. Pence continued to talk about details as forthcoming. O'Donnell sort of thought that having continually criticized the administration for projecting a long-term deficit figure, that it was absurd that the GOP couldn't even offer their own projection for the sake of comparison. Pence suggested that the very fact that the GOP plan was getting criticized constituted "progress."

-------------------------

"After 27 days, the best House Republicans could come up with is a 19-page pamphlet that does not include a single real budget proposal or estimate. There are more numbers in my last sentence than there are in the entire House GOP budget."

-------------------------

Robert Gibbs offered: "There's one more picture of a windmill than there are charts of numbers. And there's exactly one picture of a windmill."
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Old 03-26-2009, 06:06 PM
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Now, now, we haven't even discussed the GOP's alternate budget proposal:
I was dismayed at the Thomas Kincaide report cover.
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Old 03-26-2009, 07:09 PM
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These ideas intentionally left blank.
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:15 PM
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If the First Lady is going to have a policy role then she should have exactly the same rules applied to her as other presidential advsors... Like say, Karl Rove. He spit at a Congressional subpeona and got away with it until GW was out of office.
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:30 PM
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I thought maybe the Republicans were trying to legislate the length of the sleeves on the First Lady's dresses.

Last edited by Frostillicus; 03-26-2009 at 09:30 PM.
  #31  
Old 03-26-2009, 09:31 PM
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In an abstract, theoretical way, I can see his point. I might even have supported it if it came up when First Lady Hillary was being tasked with developing major policy initiatives (Indeed, I've heard it argued that the reason Hillarycare failed was because it was developed behind closed doors, and that a more public process might have helped).

But bringing it up now, when Michelle Obama is engaged only in excactly the kinds of stuff that fall under the "historic role of the first lady" is just asinine.
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Old 03-26-2009, 09:32 PM
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I thought maybe the Republicans were trying to legislate the length of the sleeves on the First Lady's dresses.
You might argue it's worse -- they're trying to disarm her.
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Old 03-26-2009, 10:27 PM
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You might argue it's worse -- they're trying to disarm her.
Indictment pending.
  #34  
Old 03-27-2009, 03:44 PM
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What Rep. Issa is talking about is the Federal Advisory Committee Act ("FACA") (5 USC Appx 2). FACA applies to any committee that is (1) convened or controlled by the executive, (2) makes a consensus recommendation to the Agency head or President AND (3) includes at least one person who is NOT a officer or employee of the U.S.

If all three conditions apply, then FACA applies and the committee meetings must be open to the public (and the public must be given notice that they are occurring), the committee must include representatives from all interested groups, and certain recordkeeping requirements must be met. Basically, its a much bigger pain in the neck to be a FACA committee than not.

In 1993, this came up when Mrs. Clinton championed health care reform efforts. Her commission consisted entirely of federal officers & employees, except for her. The U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia found that the First Lady is, for purposes of FACA, a federal officer or employee.

The point is, this area of law is getting a hard look by Congress for several good reasons (which can be referred to as "Cheney" and "Mrs. Clinton", to save time).

I do think Rep. Issa is taking the wrong course with the most popular first lady in 40 years (he's gonna get stomped like a grape in Napa), but the topic is one where reasonable (but geeky) lawyers are having meaningful discussion about what should be done.
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Old 03-27-2009, 03:46 PM
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The point is, this area of law is getting a hard look by Congress for several good reasons (which can be referred to as "Cheney" and "Mrs. Clinton", to save time).

I do think Rep. Issa is taking the wrong course with the most popular first lady in 40 years (he's gonna get stomped like a grape in Napa), but the topic is one where reasonable (but geeky) lawyers are having meaningful discussion about what should be done.
In other words, it's a possibly legitimate and commendable bill that's being torpedoed by its Republican sponsors' ham-tongued rhetorical trippery. Sounds par for the course.

It just amazes me that, rather than letting this work its way through Congress under its legitimate cover, Issa decided he was going to try to jump-start it by tossing his shoes at the most popular First Lady in more than 40 years. I'm more and more convinced that the Republicans are taking their cues from Michael Scott.

Last edited by jayjay; 03-27-2009 at 03:48 PM.
  #36  
Old 03-27-2009, 04:45 PM
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What Rep. Issa is talking about is the Federal Advisory Committee Act ("FACA") (5 USC Appx 2). FACA applies to any committee that is (1) convened or controlled by the executive, (2) makes a consensus recommendation to the Agency head or President AND (3) includes at least one person who is NOT a officer or employee of the U.S.

If all three conditions apply, then FACA applies and the committee meetings must be open to the public (and the public must be given notice that they are occurring), the committee must include representatives from all interested groups, and certain recordkeeping requirements must be met. Basically, its a much bigger pain in the neck to be a FACA committee than not.

In 1993, this came up when Mrs. Clinton championed health care reform efforts. Her commission consisted entirely of federal officers & employees, except for her. The U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia found that the First Lady is, for purposes of FACA, a federal officer or employee.

The point is, this area of law is getting a hard look by Congress for several good reasons (which can be referred to as "Cheney" and "Mrs. Clinton", to save time).

I do think Rep. Issa is taking the wrong course with the most popular first lady in 40 years (he's gonna get stomped like a grape in Napa), but the topic is one where reasonable (but geeky) lawyers are having meaningful discussion about what should be done.
So there's already a law that covers this, or am I not understanding something.
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Old 03-27-2009, 10:31 PM
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G. Octo-

There is a law that covers this, but the law has not kept up with the facts. For example, when Vice President Cheney formed a (non-FACA) committee to discuss energy policy, his reasoning was that they were not a FACA committee because they did not form a consensus opinion.

So there is a law, but the law could use some refining due to skillful interpretation from both the Clinton & W. Bush years. But I don't think Mrs. Obama is your boogeyman for why this needs to happen right away.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:21 PM
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From the RNC Membership Survey:

1. A recent national poll reported that nearly 25% of Americans want the government to pass more socialism. Do you agree or disagree?

Agree
Disagree
Undecided


http://web.campaignsolutions.com/rnc...default2.aspx?

Last edited by Ca3799; 03-28-2009 at 09:21 PM.
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Old 03-28-2009, 09:37 PM
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My personal favorite from this coprophiliac's delight:

9. Should we resist Barack Obama's proposal to spend billions of federal taxpayer dollars to pay "volunteers" who perform his chosen tasks?

Hooo, doggies!

Last edited by elucidator; 03-28-2009 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 03-28-2009, 10:17 PM
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I can tell they really struggled to omit any possible bias in the phrasing of their questions.

Quote:
Should bureaucrats in Washington, DC be in charge of making your health care choices instead of you and your doctor?
Quote:
Should Republicans unite to block new federal government bureaucracy and red tape that will crush future economic growth?
  #41  
Old 03-28-2009, 10:23 PM
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Should bureaucrats in Washington, DC be in charge of making your health care choices instead of you and your doctor?
Hell yeah!

Quote:
Should Republicans unite to block new federal government bureaucracy and red tape that will crush future economic growth?
Hell no!
  #42  
Old 03-28-2009, 10:40 PM
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Hell yeah!



Hell no!
You have scored 50% on the Republican aptitude test. Your results indicate you are a free-market socialist. There has been a cell designated for your occupation at Guantanamo Bay after the 2012 elections. Don't worry about turning yourself in -- we will know where you are and we will come and get you.
  #43  
Old 03-28-2009, 11:25 PM
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Now, now, we haven't even discussed the GOP's alternate budget proposal:
FiveThirtyEight has it. Scroll down to 3/26/09 posting.
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:25 PM
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1. A recent national poll reported that nearly 25% of Americans want the government to pass more socialism. Do you agree or disagree?
Do I agree that a national poll reported nearly 25% of Americans want more socialism?

Do I agree that nearly 25% of Americans want more socialism?

Do I agree with the nearly 25% of Americans who want more socialism?

I'm so confused.
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Old 03-28-2009, 11:47 PM
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At least the reasonable and moderate wing of the Republican Party still has a voice.
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Old 03-29-2009, 12:21 AM
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*crickets*
  #47  
Old 03-29-2009, 12:26 AM
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Do I agree that a national poll reported nearly 25% of Americans want more socialism?

Do I agree that nearly 25% of Americans want more socialism?

Do I agree with the nearly 25% of Americans who want more socialism?

I'm so confused.
It doesn't matter. It's all code for "Do you agree to be totally batshit insane and stupid?" Yes? Sign here! Then give us money!
  #48  
Old 03-29-2009, 12:38 AM
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... the most popular First Lady in more than 40 years.
Burt Prelutsky would like to have a word with you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asswipe Prelutsky
Take Michelle Obama...please. Every time I turn around, there she is on a magazine cover. Now, normally, like the Mafia, I lay off the spouses, but inasmuch as this particular spouse attended the same racist church as her hubby for 20 years, I'll make an exception in her case. After all, in spite of the fact that affirmative action got her an Ivy League degree and a $7,000-a-week salary and, moreover, has sent billions of dollars for no particularly good reason to Africa, she insists this is a mean country. The burning question in my circle is: if the First Family gets a female dog, will she be the First Bitch or will she have to settle for second place?
Score!

Tammy Bruce too:

Quote:
Discussing the first lady's visit to a Washington D.C. classroom last week, Bruce incredulously recalled [Michelle] Obama's story about wanting to get A's in school and called out her use of a "weird, fake accent."

"That's what he's married to," Bruce said. "...You know what we've got? We've got trash in the White House. Trash is a thing that is colorblind, it can cross all eco-socionomic...categories. You can work on Wall Street, or you can work at the Wal-Mart. Trash, are people who use other people to get things, who patronize others, who consider you bitter and clingy..."
Score!

I thought about starting a thread called "What kind of an asshole hates Michelle Obama?" but I guess wouldn't have been able to use the word asshole in the Subject Line and no other word fits the description.
  #49  
Old 03-29-2009, 12:52 AM
Uncle Brother Walker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
She isn't. Michelle Obama has no legal authority.

The President can delegate any number of Presidential duties as he sees fit to the First Lady. He could just as well delegate them to you, or Brad Pitt, or his cat, providing he isn't assigning them to do a specific job that Congress has to approve, such as secretary of state or a similar post. There are some things he has to do himself and lots of specific positions that require Congressional vetting but things like "Hold meetings on the pet project of my choice" can be done by pretty much anyone he wants. As Algher's cite points out, the Supreme Court has already ruled on what would seem, at least to me, to be just common sense; that the President is allowed to hire people to accomplish tasks, and that if his wife volunteers to be an unpaid employee doing some of those tasks, there's nothing illegal about it and in fact it's been that way for ages. Ultimately, executive authority as stated in the Constitution is still his. He's on the hook for whatever his chosen agents do.
What about Nancy Reagan's 'Just Say No' thing?

I was taught that one can always delegate authority, but never responsibility.

Having said that, I agree that Mr. Obama can appoint anybody to the position of left-handed coat hangers or whatever. He's still responsible for whatever actions (or inaction) his appointee does.
  #50  
Old 03-30-2009, 11:22 AM
Algher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elucidator View Post
At least the reasonable and moderate wing of the Republican Party still has a voice.
And we are using our voice to order another round while eating all of the good nuts from the dish. It accomplishes the same thing, and at least gives us a buzz.

-Algher, not sure who to hate this morning - idiot Republicans in CA, idiot Republicans in DC, or the management of his former company that laid him off.
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