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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Supreme Court Upholds Obamacare

Dear Senator Ted Cruz:

The US Congress passed a law called the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare.

The US Supreme Court has ruled twice that Congress, the people's voice, passed that law and the president signed it.

That Sen. Cruz, is how the US political system works.

All the Court did was say that Congress has the authority to pass laws such as this.

You seem to think, incorrectly, that the Court is "legislating." It is NOT. It is affirming the Constitutional authority of Congress to enact legislation.

Every candidate for president in 2016 needs to think hard about reversing decisions of Congress. Imagine what it would be like if each time the opposition gains a majority in Congress it reverses the laws passed by previous Congresses. It would be chaos.

US businesses and Americans would be whip lashed by uncertainty. It would be like third world countries or France and Italy during their worst periods of political instability.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Supreme Court Ruling supports Obamacare

In a surprising 6-4 ruling the US Supreme Court ruled June 25, 2015 that the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) is constitutional. Chief Justice Roberts joined that majority.

Conservatives were hoping the Court would declared the law, which was passed by Congress and signed by Pres. Obama in 2010 was upheld in an earlier ruling in 2012. IF the Court had ruled against the law most Republicans and conservatives would have celebrated.

Now the headlines tell it all. "Ted Cruz, angered by Obamacare ruling, tells ‘rogue justices’ to resign and run for Congress." from the Washington Times. Most of the other Republican candidates also were opposed to the decision and promised to kill Obamacare if elected.

(Picture from Ted Cruz official website)

Speaking on the Senate floor, the Texas Republican (Cruz) and 2016 GOP ... said that if the “justices want to become legislators, I invite them to resign and run for office.”

BUT Senator Cruz. The Affordable Act WAS PASSED BY CONGRESS!

The Court, Senator Cruz, is there to scrutinize acts of government such as Obamacare and determine if these acts are or are not Constitutional.That's the "checks and balances" in the US Constitution. It prevents power to become concentrated. AND, of course, the Supreme Court justices are the referees of what is and what is NOT constitutional. In my American government class I always tell students that the court is like the referees in sports. You may disagree with their call but they get the last word interpreting the rules.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Iowa Losing Population

My comments below have a direct connection to the Iowa First in the Nation Presidential Caucuses.

There was an interesting article in the Des Moines Register by Matthew Patane, that once again talks about the shrinking of Iowa cities and the overall decline of population. (June 20, 2015)

As a result there is a labor shortage in the state which has been documented by ISU economists Liesel Eathington and Dave Swanson. This impairs economic growth and business expansion.

As a political scientist I am concerned that Iowa has been losing Congressional seats every 10 years. We DON'T want to end up like South Dakota or Vermont with just one House seat. We are headed in that direction. In 1913 Iowa had 11 house members! It started going down since then and we now have just 4.

Can someone please do a study that specifically nails down why Iowa's population is shrinking besides the aging of the population (older people do not have kids)

Is it the lack of a big city? Poor environmental conditions? A conservative social culture? Lack of an aggressive "Live and Love in Iowa" or something like that?

Otherwise this trend will continue and Iowa's influence in Congress will decline.

Now for the punch line. That shrinking population has already come up several times in conversations I've had with news media people."Why should a state with less than 1% of the US population which is shrinking in numbers be the first to express it's choice for president?" one very prominent national personality asked me?

The governor, the legislature, community leaders, business and agricultural executives, venture capitalists, academics, artists, all need to stop and reflect on this problem. Then we need to reverse the trand.

Explore more on this subject.
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Friday, June 19, 2015

Are the pessimists really "realists"?

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

Is American politics now mired in the centrifuge where things spin out away from the center?

In all parts of the world it seems the meek, the modest, the unarmed, the families are under attack.

Can the 2016 contenders maybe talk about the consequences of relentless attack on each other?

Why is being in the center now considered a laughable spinelessness. ? "If you're in the center line you get run over by those coming and going. So better move right or left."  As if politics is a a two lane road.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Great Adventure on the Daily Show

When the call came asking if I could be available for a taping for the Daily Show on the Comedy Central Channel the answer was "Of Course!"

I did not ask what this was about but I was glad it was the Iowa caucuses.

Half-Latino comedian Al Madrigal and his crew of 3, cameras, lights, the whole shebang came to Des Moines and we spend two and a half hours taping. It was exhausting but exhilarating. I had no idea what would be done with those hours of interview on Iowa and the Iowa caucuses.

On June 15 we finally got to see the episode sarcastically called "The Chosen Ones of Iowa."

I defended then Iowa caucuses and Iowa as a great state with wonderful people for the entire 2 1/2 hour "interrogation."

You decide how that went. Here is the link.

Race and 2016

So much for post racial American that was expected after Barak Obama was elected president.

No we have the Rachel Dolezal story, the white woman who claimed to be black.

According to her parents " ... her ancestry is overwhelmingly white, with a small fraction being Native American."

What "fraction"? How do we measure that?

She used her racial characteristic - being black - to do all kinds of things such as teach African studies at a university, applying to positions where her race - black - would be an advantage.

In all of this I ask, are we back to the horrible Spanish Imperial colonial policy called "Las Castas." This consisted in keeping meticulous records of what fraction of white, black, and Indian people in their Caribbean colonies were? For example, "a "requinterón" in Peru implied that a child of only one-sixteenth Black ancestry is born looking Black to seemingly white parents." The policy ultimately collapsed under it's own weight. After a century there were so many "fractions" of different races that the bureaucracy could not keep up with it.

(The Spanish illustrated the racial categories in elaborate paintings such as the one inserted here.)

Did you know that the French do not use racial categories in their census? "France, with its revolutionary, republican spirit of egalité, likes to think of itself as a color-blind society, steadfastly refusing, for example, to measure race, ethnicity, or religion in its censuses." So they don't distribute benefits such as jobs or admission to educational institutions by race. It is averred that France has racial and other discrimination and the lack of data makes it harder to correct those conditions.

Maybe we need to reconsider and fix our use of race in identifying people and distributing both benefits and sanctions. We also need to ask the 2016 presidential contenders how they would deal with race and affirmative action if elected to the White House.

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Ames Straw Poll is Cacelled

The Iowa republican Party unanimously killed off the iconic Ames Presidential Straw Poll on Friday June 12, 2015 by unanimous vote.

I always thought that the Ames Straw Poll poll was a fun event that added some levity and entertainment to the grim process of presidential selection. All the GOP activists I talked with at Joni Ernst's Roast and Ride, Marco Rubio's meet and greet and Christie's Education Reform event in Ames were sure it would be killed off. It could have and should have been "fixed" and continued they said.

(Screen shot of planned ticket sales for Straw Poll)

They also said that Iowa GOP chair Jeff Kaufman totally mismanaged this. Moving the AMES Straw poll to a bankrupt Expo site that Boone Co and US taxpayers (through USDA) will be bailing out was a big, dumb mistake. Ames is fun, the campus green and beautiful, there are hotels and restaurants and everyone loved the event. I heard this from many people including media folks.

One of them told me "Moving it was a knucklehead idea and it's inglorious ending then began to metastasize as candidates started fearing it. A real shame for an iconic American fun event." Another said that the " ... snarky national media and outside "comentarati" on the East Coast also trashed it and killed it."

One Rand Paul supporter (they were  in favor of the straw poll) said "Maybe next they'll end the State Fair because it's "outdated" and featured unhealthy foods like deep fried everything."