Tag Archives: joe barton

Grab bag – Tuesday Night (updated)

Nice Commentary from Keith to go along with my opening paragraph:

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  • The media loves a point-counterpoint. They love bad versus good. They love rich versus poor. Any time you can paint a story as two extremes they start salivating. Now we have Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal versus President Barack Obama. There is a magazine article in which there are supposed to be some disparaging comments about Barack Obama, Joe Biden and his cabinet members. Frankly, some of the comments were juvenile. It is almost as if they were speaking off the record or they thought that the reporter was in a coma. President Obama has a complex decision to make — fire Stanley McChrystal in the middle of an offensive in Afghanistan, which could disrupt the military and its chain of command or keep the general and risk losing face with the military. Personally, I think it depends on the assessment of the Afghanistan war. If the offensive is meeting its goals then I would keep the general. If the offensive has been a huge waste of time, money and manpower then I would trash the offensive and fire the general. This is not an easy decision. No matter which President Obama goes on this one, look for the conservative media to bash him one way or the other.

  • Judge Martin “Marty” Feldman of the US District Court in New Orleans is making news. (I don’t know whether he is called “Marty” for short. Of course, Marty Feldman was a great comedian, best known for his performance in Young Frankenstein.) This Feldman has overturned the president’s moratorium on drilling in the Gulf. The Obama administration will appeal.
  • HHS has issued regulations for the Affordable Care Act. I’ll need to review this in detail. Here’s a quick summary fact sheet.
  • Many people are now picking up on Rep. Joe Barton’s apology to BP as the Republican Party line rather than a rogue personal statement. As I’ve said many times, Republicans are very disciplined. They’re not known for emotional outbursts. (I think that Joe Wilson’s You Lie outburst at the President was planned.) When they say something, it generally has been thought about and approved on many levels. Republicans are outraged that a corporation would be asked to clean up something that they caused. There’s a reason that the Superfund was allowed to dry up by the Bush administration. Corporations were supposed to pay fines for their transgressions, fines collected and placed into the Superfund. The Bush administration stopped collecting fines. Without fines there would be no Superfund because in their minds making business clean up what they messed up is a bad thing.
  • I was too disgusted after the NBA finals to actually talk about them. I wasn’t disgusted that the Los Angeles Lakers won. I was disgusted that instead of watching a basketball game, I watched a professional wrestling match. In spite of frankly my having gotten nauseated throughout the game, I feel compelled to congratulate Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson (arguably the greatest coach of all time) and the Los Angeles Lakers. I would only ask that in the off season, point guard Rajon Rondo learn how to shoot free throws. Is that so hard?
  • Michael Jackson died approximately one year ago (it’ll be one year on the 25th). Some are confused about the fact that he has left a mixed legacy. I am not confused. I grew up with Michael Jackson. I had all of the J5 albums. I saw the J5 when they came to Dallas in 1970. Michael was 11 but they said he was 8. I was 9. Michael Jackson was a complex person, just as many of us are complex people. He was a great humanitarian and one of the best entertainers to ever live. He also slept in an oxygen chamber, had a zoo complete with a tiger and chimpanzee and he had problems with personal relationships with adults and children. I love him as an entertainer. Whenever I see his Emmy award-winning performance of Billie Jean at the Motown 25th anniversary special or his performance of Man in the Mirror at the Grammys, I get goosebumps. In spite of my utmost respect for his musical talents, I’m not sure I would leave my grandson with him for more than a nanosecond.
  • The goal of the day from the World Cup

The face of the real Republican party

I don’t think that Joe Barton said anything that Republicans weren’t thinking. Remember Rand Paul (said the president was wrong for calling out BP) and John Boehner’s remark from last week? He said that the taxpayers should shoulder some of the burden for the clean-up on the gulf. Republicans don’t believe in punishing business for any reason.

According to OpenSecrets, Joe Burton received $162,000 from Electric Utilities and over $100, 000 from Oil and Gas (see chart below) during the 2009-2010  campaign season.

Industry Total Indivs PACs
Electric Utilities $162,800 $13,300 $149,500
Oil & Gas $100,470 $24,470 $76,000
Pharmaceuticals/Health Products $82,250 $500 $81,750
Health Professionals $72,300 $22,300 $50,000
TV/Movies/Music $47,500 $3,000 $44,500

If you are taking money from a lobby, you should be open about it like Representative Burton.

From PA:

“I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday,” Barton said. “I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown.” Talking directly to Hayward, Barton added, “I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize.”

Democrats have been desperate to paint Republicans as siding with BP during this crisis. Barton just made that task much easier, with remarks that may prove to be the most politically important apology in recent memory.

Incessant Republican criticism of the White House is one thing; a leading Republican lawmaker issuing a public apology to BP is another.

I just never thought I’d see the day when a leading Republican publicly groveled to a foreign CEO, who just happens to be leading a company responsible for a devastating oil spill disaster. It was just a stunning display. That the right-wing Texan has taken in over $1.4 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry over his career makes his apology that much more unseemly.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs felt compelled to issue a statement: “What is shameful is that Joe Barton seems to have more concern for big corporations that caused this disaster than the fishermen, small business owners and communities whose lives have been devastated by the destruction. Congressman Barton may think that a fund to compensate these Americans is a ‘tragedy’, but most Americans know that the real tragedy is what the men and women of the Gulf Coast are going through right now. Members from both parties should repudiate his comments.”