Congress has gone home for the summer, and I’m tempted to consider that a blessing. Like physicians, legislators should be required to take an oath to first and foremost do no harm. But so far this year, it’s been hard to find any healing going on, and malignant intent is everywhere evident.
Last summer, just before the annual recess (does that term suggest elementary school to anyone besides me?) Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein riffed on “14 reasons why this is the worst Congress ever.” He was, of course, referring to the 112th—a relatively benign group compared to the 113th, which has surprised all of us— from cynical lefties to the House Speaker—with its unsurpassed venality and self-debasement.
People following recent L.A. Times reporting of how the insidious state-by-state encroachment on abortion rights has suddenly spread to California found out something possibly more distressing by reading Michael Hiltzik’s column this past Sunday: The ban on perfectly legal abortions at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Orange County—a result of that hospital’s new partnership with Roman Catholic counterparts operated by St. Joseph Health System—was formally approved by California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris.
Harris, a much-celebrated rising star in California Democratic circles, somehow was convinced that the blow to women’s health care at this large facility, which handles the biggest share of obstetrics cases in the area, is no big deal.
If you didn’t dig into Hiltzik’s investigation of how this situation developed and how our Attorney General clearly bungled it, take the time to read this column.
I suspect much more will be coming on this story that should be of interest to women and Democrats in general who are already concerned about the erosion of abortion rights and choices across the country. Does California really want to join in this trend?
As both houses of Congress continue work on major farm legislation this month one of the central issues to be resolved is how much money can they take away from food assistance programs.
Yes, at a time when more than 50 million Americans (including 17 million children) are considered “food insecure” by the Dept. of Agriculture, our senators and representatives are haggling over how they can effectively cut back on feeding hungry children, seniors, and veterans, while at the same time continuing traditional subsidies for big Ag. and its allies.
Is it possible that men and women with the background and wherewithal to get elected to the U.S. Senate would not understand that there are limits to how deeply they can offend public sensibilities without paying a price?
By now we’ve just about heard it all regarding guns—call it what you wish: gun control, stopping gun violence, protecting gun rights, “second amendment remedies”—it’s all been covered, and I’ve doubted I could hear anything truly new.
And with this past week’s showdown vote in the Senate, I’d say we’ve felt it all as well. The sense of disappoint and outrage has been palpable here on the left coast. We have a hard time assimilating the utter venality of politicians so cowardly that they cannot conceive of doing the right thing even when it’s a matter of lives to be saved versus dollars to be raised.
When President Obama urged Congress in his State of the Union address to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $9, he got plenty of support from his audience—well, not Republicans, of course. Still more applause, though, for linking future increases to the cost of living. He said even Mitt Romney had agreed with him on that point. But the cameras cut straight to a tight-lipped Paul Ryan, looking a bit peeved over the president’s presumptuous assertion.
The fate of this item in Congress is not clear yet, but certainly it will be vigorously opposed by conservatives in both houses. Not surprisingly, it was Herman Cain—fast food magnate and former President of the National Restaurant Association—who led the charge the next day on Fox News, tearing down the concept of paying low-rung workers something closer to a living wage.
Anyone who hasn’t seen this little “talking chart” video about wealth inequality in the U.S. that’s been circulating recently should take six and a half minutes of their time to check it out. It’s not news—at least it shouldn’t be—just concise exploration of basic truths that are becoming more and more self-evident.
Once we understand how stark the contrast is between what would be a fair or healthy distribution of wealth for our country and how things actually stand these days, we can’t help but wonder how it got this way and what can be done to at least stop the disease from worsening.
Some of you may have already had the chance to watch the inaugural events of this morning. The president gave a stirring and progressive speech, and gave us a road map for the next four years.
Join your fellow Democrats this evening to celebrate this historic event.
Monday, January 21st
5:00PM - 8:00PM
Las Aves Cafe At the Best Western Encina Lodge
2220 Bath St, Santa Barbara (Near Cottage Hospital)
Suggested Donation: $30 / $25 Student and Low-Income
(No one will be turned away)
Please RSVP here so we know to expect you.
You can also purchase tickets online here. Checks or debit/credit cards accepted at the door.
Democratic Women of Santa Barbara County and the Santa Barbara Democratic Party invite you to a Presidential Debate Watch Party!
With proceeds benefiting the campaign of Congresswoman Lois Capps
Join us in watching the final Presidential Debate!! We'll have wine, snacks and, as always, fun!
What: Presidential Debate Watching Party
When: Monday, October 22, 2012 5:30pm (debate starts at 6pm)
Where: Oreana Winery & Marketplace, 205 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara.
Cost: $35 (Includes one drink ticket) Checks payable to “Friends of Lois Capps.”