Monday, March 23, 2009

Had Things Been Different

And they still won't let local governments choose to sell alcohol on Sundays...

Again, I'm just pointing out how the GOP acts when they rule unopposed. Again, we're using Georgia as the example. Today's lesson will start with actual policy and move into symbolic measures. Though I've talked to several folks who don't mind paying Georgia Power now for a nuclear plant they will get at some point in the future, there are still many folks (left and right) unhappy with ponzi schemin' for Georgia Power's benefit. Hell, at least they don't have to deal with Entergy...

But let's move beyond that (and not being able to buy beer on Sunday...), here's one breakdown of Georgia's "no mo' in-vito" fertilization law, currently working its way around the ATL. That's right, folks, the Gold Dome - so keen on deregulating business, is awfully keen on regulating how many babies you can have if you have trouble concieving, and establishing legal rights for embryos. (Which reminds me, what does the "life begins at conception" intelligencia think about folks who cannot biologically concieve? I'm just asking.)

I mean, I can see the ideas behind this bill (Georgia would rather let places like California handle the stem cell research, and after our rather unfortunate history with eugenics, I too find picking embryos based on sex and hair color anathema to life creation), I worry that it does not make proper distinctions necessary to properly guide policy on reproductive health. Every flaw in this bill will later be hashed out in divorce court, I'd wager.

Now for the failings of symbolism, JMac points us to the strange debate about the Georgia General Assembly failing to adopt an honorific resolution for President Obama. Now, I'm a utilitarian, and I don't really like all the symbolic resolutions our localities, states, and nation have to deal with every year, (entertaining as some of them may be). But I do understand the desire of politicians to associate themselves with heroic actions, high acheivement and important milestones. These things are a part of our political spectacle, and they aren't going away.

Except in Georgia, where they voted down a resolution to salute President Barack Obama as the first black President, and recognize this rather historic milestone with an honorary title within the Georgia General Assembly. Then editorials came out getting all pissy with the state Rep. who came up with the bill. I'm sure Rep. Heard is shocked at this.

Why would he not know that this may be controversial? Maybe because (and I had to look this up because I'd never heard of it before today), back in September of 2005, the Georgia General Assembly recognized and commended one George W. Bush, President, for his "outstanding service provided to the people of this nation in this time of need." Yes, that time of need was the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Georgia thought George did a good job. At least that's what the resolution they adopted says.

Now, to be fair, this resolution did also recognize "others," who just happened to include "the military and national guard from every state, first responders, private business, emergency medical technicians, cardiac technicians, paramedics, firefighters, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other law enforcement and devoted citizen volunteers of Georgia and other states, who have given tirelessly during the Hurricane Katrina disaster and its aftermath."

Wait, that's not a political bill like the Obama honorarium, is it? It has all sorts of refrences to real heroes who did real stuff in an emergency. Look at the dates, 9/9/2005 - 9/10/2005. Wasn't there some rather loud criticism going on around then? Some rather political criticism? Even prominent government officials were saying the Federal response to Katrina was "not enough," and that was going on as far back as September 2nd. There was plenty more to go around, and it came from the left and and the right.

So, a few days later, the Georgia General Assembly, overwhelmingly GOP, wrote up a bill that commended a bunch of honest American heroes, and led the resolution with the government official most criticized for the handling of the crisis. I guess if someone who thought the criticism was deserved, dared call the resolution 'political' or even go so far as to oppose it...well, they'd just be seen as anti-hero. Can you imagine what would have been said of anyone opposing this bill?

I guess that makes a "little politically motivated bomb-throwing with a near-meaningless legislative resolution" OK behavior for the GOP, but not for Democrats. Also, I'd wager that, had the election gone the other way, Georgia reps would have been lining up to author a resolution honoring John McCain.

Man, I just hope things can change someday.



patsbrother said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
patsbrother said...

(1) Creating life is a big deal, and should not be done wantonly, only to house it in a vat or to destroy it for others' divertissement and comfort.

They drew a line. Eh.

(2) Did that 2005 resolution call Dubya a man with an "unimpeccable reputation for integrity"? Did the non-proposing party ask to remove said language, and did the proposing party flat-out decline to do so?

Would you have referred to President Bush as a man with an "unimpeccable reputation for integrity"? Similarly, would you refer to a man who famously praised a group one day to their faces and then maligned that same group the next day...would you really say that man had an "unimpeccable reputation for integrity"?

If you wouldn't sign off on that, it's not the same deal. Get over it and move on. Like the org.

(Sorry. I just thought that last comment was amusing.)

(3) Damn the Sunday sales law!

Dante said...

"That's right, folks, the Gold Dome - so keen on deregulating business, is awfully keen on regulating how many babies you can have if you have trouble concieving, and establishing legal rights for embryos."

Pat, if you're going to complain about the GOP as a party in Georgia, please limit it to what the party has actually done. Some goofy stuff went into the embryo bill but this is what actually made it through the Georgia Senate. That nasty GOP you complain so much about had the good sense to axe most of the silliness in the bill. If it passes, you can't create embryos for any purpose other than impregnation (either now or in the possible future) and you can't impregnate women with super-intelligent apes or any other non-human embryo. I think it also inadvertently prevents human cloning. That's about it. Very specifically:

"Nothing in this article shall prohibit or otherwise impede the use of induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS cells)."

As far as blocking the Obama resolution, that was a good political move. Georgia is a very conservative state. The number of people opposing Obama's Spendapalooza budget (I changed the name since you took issue with the name Porkulus) is increasing. As it stands right now, the safe bet is that the number of people supporting Obama in the state of Georgia by the next election cycle will go down. Finding a way to look direly opposed to the President while taking the money anyway is pretty slick, especially when you're just posturing over a resolution that's nothing but posturing to begin with.

I'd still take this (and even throw in the no beer on Sunday) over trillions in new spending to prevent business who make stupid decisions from actually failing. Jacking our government spending up to over 40% of the GDP or deny women the right to give birth to super-intelligent apes while having to buy Sunday beer on Saturday? Hmmm.... I'll stow away an extra 12-er and wipe out any damn dirty apes I come across just to be on the safe side.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ Embryos: Well, thank goodness they took the prior wording out of the bill, but that prior wording still shows us where they want to go with this. As for the current rewrite, I (like the Slate article) have a problem with the wording "for the treatment of human infertility or cryopreservation for such treatment in the future."

So, we can create life and house it in a vat, so long as the orignal intent was the treatment of human infertility. Who decides all that, and who is liable when someone choses NOT to undergo additional "treatment" for infertility? Do we then force someone to be implanted, because to do otherwise would risk legal sanction? And what in the world happens if these embryos are treated as property under divorce law? That's why I don't like it.

@ Symbolic Resolutions:

Spendapalooza? +1 Dante.

I bring up both bills because both bills are symbolic, and both are political. That's why I don't like bills like this, because they can be used in such ways.

The Bush commendation dared critics to oppose it or attempt to change the language. Such critics would come under political fire in Georgia because of the state's support for Bush, but it does not stop there. Tying that resolution to the troops, volunteers, and rescue participants meant that opposition to one side of the bill could be spun as opposition to the other side. Opponents would then come under political fire for being anti-troop and anti-first responder. On the reverse, Bush critics who had to vote for this bill to support troops and first responders could count on having their support for that side of the bill thrown back in their faces should they ever criticize Bush for his Katrina behavior at some later time.

"But you voted for this commendation of Bush! How dare you flip flop and criticize him now! Didn't you even read the bill?" Lose, lose, lose for anyone on the other side.

Very political, potentially divisive, and all about scoring points off tragedy. Disgusting, really.

The Obama honorarium dared critics to oppose it or attempt to change the language in many of the same ways, though not as effectively as the Bush commendation. And used neither a calamity nor the troops and first responders to ratchet up the rhetoric. Which was especially problematic in a state that went for McCain in November, as Dante pointed out.

But the GOP and the editorialists are being disingenuous when they criticize one type of resolution as divisive and let the others slide. Can't help but point that out.

BONUS: The Obama honorarium would have been more like the Bush commendation if Heard had included additional honors to all of Georgia's Civil Rights movemement figures and forced the Georgia GOP to vote against folks like Martin Luther King, Jr.

patsbrother said...

I honestly think that when it comes to politics, your ability to think rationally goes south.

You're correct. Had the Obama resolution been about more people than just President Obama, it would have been more like the Bush resolution. In that it would be less obnoxious than it stands now.

Similarly, had the Bush resolution been all about President Bush; had it not been about one incident; and had it described President Bush's entire career as a fantabulous model of all things sweet and airy...then the Bush resolution would be more like the Obama one. In that it would be more obnoxious.

Bear in mind, I'm not a fan of former President Bush. Call me a [liberal or right-wing] nutjob, as you are wont to do, but as between these two men, I am the more impartial bystander.

Dante said...

"but that prior wording still shows us where they want to go with this."

Pat, take off your partisan blinders (and tinfoil hat) for a moment. You would never claim that the actions of a few Democrats represent where the party as a whole is wanting to go. Why do it here? Especially when arguing how the "GOP acts when they rule unopposed." If they really wanted to go where that prior wording indicated, they very easily could've done it.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ Sprout:

A: This resolution politically linked the commendable and heroic behavior of the troops, volunteers, first responders with Bush, who was being criticized for gross incompetence at the time.

This resolution is very political - If you thought Bush was awful, incompetent, nepotistic, and that his actions cost this country blood and treasure, it did not matter, you still couldn't vote against the bill, politically. A vote against commending Bush was ALSO a vote against commending the troops, volunteers & first responders, who everyone wants to recognize as heroes. That is bullshit.

B: A vote against honoring Obama is simply a vote against honoring Obama. If you don't want to honor Obama, there is no way your NAY vote can be construed as voting against anyone else.

And you think "A" is less obnoxious than "B?" Maybe you're confusing "obnoxiousness" with "political."

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

@ Dante: You would never claim that the actions of a few Democrats represent where the party as a whole is wanting to go.

And yet, I (and most Democrats, and liberals) have to constantly defend our positions against the lowest hanging friut on my side, whenever one of their California based interest groups issues a press release.

And you know I rarely call out the GOP for every wack-job thing someone on y'all side does. I might point out the wackjobbery and laugh.

But this is a real bill about a real issue that was adopted by the State Senate of the bellweahter state of the South.

The only reason all the crazy stuff was removed was because they didn't expect so much opposition from other conservatives and pro-family organizations.

patsbrother said...

"Can you imagine what would have been said of anyone opposing [the Bush] bill?"

Assuming the person came out and said why he was opposing it, probably crap, but not much of it. Which is why it's generally best to elect someone with a spine.

(I can only assume people opposed the Obama bill, then came out and said why. Which is how if failed to pass.)

Originally, I thought your post was a complaint that the Republicans' Bush bill was worse than the Democrats' Obama bill as far as needlessly praising someone for whom there is greatly diverging opinions. Hence my responses.

Now, given your latest response, it seems your grief is that the Republicans didn't cowtow to the Obama bill like the Democrats did to the Bush one?

Or, are you saying that since the Republicans did some crap-move to Democrats back in 2005, they shouldn't respond to Democrats when they do a somewhat similar crap-move to the Republicans in 2009?

Are you arguing this is wrong, but since it happened wrong once one way, we should do it wrong the other way? In other words, two wrongs make a right?

Why is this important? Why are you blogging about this? Why wouldn't you just say: :"It was dumb then when A did it, and it's dumb now when B did it. Let's move on."