From Michael Medved’s most recent column comes a statistic that made me take a double-take:
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which has surveyed 1,000 adults almost every day for more than two years, shows that even in the midst of high unemployment and bitter political turmoil, people are pleased with their private progress. From 2008 through 2009, participants’ “life evaluations” of their current situation and future expectations rose by more than 5 percentage points. Without exception, every racial group, income level and age cohort showed brightening attitudes, with particularly big improvements among blacks, young adults (18-29) and people of modest means ($24,000 to $48,000 in annual income).
In other words, blacks, young people and the middle class are doing well. When’s the last time you heard that? Additionally came a striking poll regarding health care:
It looks like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will force a final vote on ObamaCare this week despite the fact that the public wants Washington focus on other priorities, such as jobs and the economy, and without the support of pro-life Democrats. The House Budget Committee released the 2,309 page bill on its website last night and a final vote is expected by Sunday.
President Barack Obama even delayed an overseas trip by a few days in anticipation of the vote. No doubt he will be involved in the arm twisting of on-the-fence members.
Some Republicans, such as Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), are warning that reconciliation shouldn’t be the focus of the opposition against the bill because if the House passes the Senate version, it’s game, set, match. If you want to get an idea of the process that will take place, check out this post from Jamie Dupree.
The Air Force didn’t ask, she didn’t tell, but a 28 year-old Air Force Sergent was discharged anyway because she’s gay:
Jene Newsome played by the rules as an Air Force sergeant: She never told anyone in the military she was a lesbian. The 28-year-old’s honorable discharge under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy came only after police officers in Rapid City, S.D., saw an Iowa marriage certificate in her home and told the nearby Ellsworth Air Force Base.
Newsome and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against the western South Dakota police department, claiming the officers violated her privacy when they informed the military about her sexual orientation. The case also highlights concerns over the ability of third parties to “out” service members, especially as the Pentagon has started reviewing the 1993 “don’t ask, don’t tell” law.
“I played by ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” Newsome told The Associated Press by telephone.
“I just don’t agree with what the Rapid City police department did. … They violated a lot of internal policies on their end, and I feel like my privacy was violated.”
The Rapid City Police Department says Newsome, an aircraft armament system craftsman who spent nine years in the Air Force, was not cooperative when they showed up at her home in November with an arrest warrant for her partner, who was wanted on theft charges in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Newsome was at work at the base at the time and refused to immediately come home and assist the officers in finding her partner, whom she married in Iowa — where gay marriage is legal — in October.
On CNN this morning, White House advisor David Axelrod said that passing ObamaCare will help Democrats this year:
“The reality is that we’ve passed these bills through the House and the Senate,” Obama senior adviser David Axelrod said in an interview that airs Sunday on State of the Union. “The Republican candidates are going to campaign against us on it. The question is: We’ve got the vote, are we going to have the achievement? Are we going to have the accomplishment?”
The top Obama adviser also laid out a number of immediate impacts that the White House says will result from passage of the legislation, including prohibiting insurance companies from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions in children, ending lifetime and annual caps on coverage, closing of the so-called “doughnut hole” in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage, shoring up the financial solvency of the Medicare system, and giving tax credits to small business.
Two Democratic analysts, Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen, disagree with Axelrod on that, as they believe that Democrats are headed for disaster in November should ObamaCare pass:
The whole idea to remove the Filibuster from the Senate is to make it more like the House of Representatives because the Senate, supposedly, isn’t working.
It’s not that the Senate doesn’t work, it does work, but it works in a very different way than the House of Representatives.
The Senate is not ruled by it’s majority leader. It’s ruled by a consensus which has to be built by both the majority leader and the minority leader.
This is not a shot taken at Harry Reid or any Democrat based on their position on an issue, it’s an opinion of how ineffectively the current leadership is building a consensus.
I do not think the problem is the rules, I think the problem in the Senate is the Senators.
Here’s a great cartoon from Henry Payne:
That’s according to a Whip Count from the liberal Firedoglake:
19 Democrats who voted No in November:
Bobby Bright, Mike McIntyre, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Walt Minnick, Artur Davis, Chet Edwards, Frank Kratovil, Mike Ross, Dan Boren, Gene Taylor, Larry Kissell, Dennis Kucinich, Collin Peterson, Ike Skelton, Jim Marshall, Mike McMahon, Charlie Melancon, Tim Holden, Ben Chandler.
6 Democrats & Republicans who voted Yes in November (confirmed Stupak bloc):
Bart Stupak, Marion Berry, Dan Lipinski, Kathy Dahlkemper, Joe Donnelly, Joseph Cao (R).
18 potential Democratic No-Yes flip votes:
Jason Altmire, Bart Gordon, Glenn Nye, Brian Baird, John Tanner, Rick Boucher, Allen Boyd, John Boccieri, Suzanne Kosmas, Betsy Markey, John Adler, Scott Murphy, Lincoln Davis, Jim Matheson, Harry Teague.
3 less possible:
Travis Childers, Heath Shuler (severe lean no), John Barrow.
20 potential Yes-No flip votes:
4 additional Stupak bloc (Stupak-curious):
Steve Driehaus, Brad Ellsworth, Marcy Kaptur, Jerry Costello.
16 other wary Democrats:
Mike Arcuri, Zack Space, Chris Carney, Mike Doyle, Paul Kanjorski, Ann Kirkpatrick, Alan Mollohan, Nick Rahall, Dan Maffei, Bill Owens, Dennis Cardoza, Baron Hill, Solomon Ortiz, Gabrielle Giffords, Earl Pomeroy, Tim Bishop.
Democrats need 25 of a combination of the 18 potential No-Yes flip votes and the 20 potential Yes-No flip votes. So they need 25 out of the remaining uncommitted 38.
And Republicans need just 14 votes out of that 38 to get to the 216 votes needed to defeat ObamaCare.
If your Representative is part of that group of 38, call now.
At a Q&A someone asked Chief Justice Roberts how he felt about the President making comments about a recent decision that the court made during the State of the Union. Roberts had an excellent answer:
For those who went to public school, did you ever wonder what that 13 years of education cost the people who were shelling the dough? (By that I mean your parents, your neighbors, and anyone paying taxes.) For those who didn’t go to public school, this still applies to you. Because you subsidized my education. Thanks! (Suckers…)
Anyway, this so-called free schooling actually did cost something. But how much? Well it turns out it probably cost more than the administrators were letting on. My Cato colleague Adam Schaeffer, an education policy expert, examined some of the largest school districts and found that they have been underreporting the actual costs.
And as the title of his new study (“They Spend WHAT?”) lets on, we’re not just talking a few nickels and dimes on pencil expenses. This is some serious taxpayer cash. Before I let him explain it all in the video below, here’s the money quote:
It is impossible to have a public debate about education policy if public schools can’t be straight forward about their spending.