December 2011


According to a new analysis from Bloomburg News:

This month, as the last U.S. combat forces left Iraq, the holiday parade in Hickory, North Carolina, featured a first: marchers carrying the names of all the state’s troops who died in that war and in Afghanistan.

“The older men stood and saluted; some people cried,” said Mike Beasley, an ex-Marine who organized the display through his church. “It opened a lot of people up to what had happened.”

Places like Hickory, with a population of 40,010, bore much of the burden of Iraq war casualties. Roughly half of those who died came from towns with fewer than 50,000 people, and of those, about a quarter were from places with less than 10,000, a Bloomberg analysis of U.S. Census figures suggests.

The all-volunteer military gets many front-line troops from rural areas, where there’s a culture of patriotism, a tradition of service and often limited economic opportunities, said Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow in defense policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

“Infantry forces, which take the brunt of a lot of the casualties, do tend to draw predominantly from these regions,” O’Hanlon said.

This statistic is even more telling when you consider that while one-half (1/2) of the troop that died came from rural areas; only 10% of the US population lives in such areas. In other words, one-half of the deaths came from just 10% of the US population.

And yet, most Congresspersons representing rural areas  like Alabama Cong. Mike Rogers (see here and here) seem to agitate for more war & any war.

The Alabama Homeland Security Department expects massive budget cuts this upcoming year due to a reduction in flow of federal dollars.

“It will be about a 40 to 50 percent cut in the state’s homeland security budget,” says John Scripture, spokesperson for the head of the Alabama Department of Homeland Security Spencer Collier (ADHS).

Accordingly, DHS expects to greatly reduce its programs and projects:

These cuts and reduction in funds for functioning programs will be a blow to the ADHS. However, the ADHS will require more funds from the state’s general fund to fulfill its newly bestowed duties. According to the Alabama’s new immigration law, the state’s homeland security department is responsible for maintaining the E-Verify system. This will require a 25 percent increase in general funding for the department to run the citizenship authentication system.

For an already cash-strapped state budget, this could pose a problem. Nevertheless, Scripture is assured the funding will be there. “Until the legislature changes its mind, we will require an increase in funding from the general fund.”

For you see, DHS had a fairly large responsibility placed upon it by the Alabama Legislature. In an effort to be sly, the Legislature converted DHS into the Human Resources/Personnel department of every small business in Alabama: all 80,000 of them. (See here and here)

 

Mitt Romney stated today:

“What we did was right for the people of Massachusetts,” he said on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday morning. “It is fundamentally a conservative principle to insist that people take personal responsibility as opposed to turning to government for giving out free care.”

A more full video can be found here which also includes Newt admitting that he supported an individual mandate but has now changed his mind.

I cannot wait until Romney’s Alabama campaign chairpersons Speaker Mike Hubbard, Cong. Mike Rogers, and Lt.Gov. Kay Ivey publicly agree that the primary plank of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate, is “fundamentally a conservative principle.” I’m on pins & needles.

 

Evidently, the Alabama Legislative District Maps have gone missing! Remember: they were supposed to be released to the public in early December.

All 35 Senate districts and 105 House districts will have to be redrawn because of population changes since districts were last redrawn in 2001.

The new districts will be based on the results of the 2010 federal census.

Dial said the plan is to meet before Thanksgiving and then have a proposed district plan ready by early December so that legislators on the committee can conduct hearings in their districts.

Dial and Rep. Jim McClendon, R-Springville, plan to introduce House and Senate redistricting bills in the 2012 legislative session, which begins in February. McClendon is the committee’s co-chairman in the House.

Oh no. Some bird must have taken the map to its nest in the dark cave. Let’s hope Dora can find the maps soon.  Let’s hope there is better transparency this time around than there was on the Congressional maps. Last time, the map stayed in the dark cave until the last minute.

[Sen. Gerald] Dial, R-Lineville, said after the original public hearing in Montgomery that there were not any maps. They were there to listen to the public and re­ceive input before beginning their work. Then, a week later, when the committee was con­sidering a plan similar to his, he said he had been working on a plan for weeks, had input from members of the state’s congressional delegation, and had spent hours on the phone with them.

So, while there allegedly was not a map in the works that people could comment on dur­ing the public hearings, there was at least apparently a plan he had been working on for weeks — not with public input, but with the input of seven members of Congress.

Gary Hart accurately identifies the danger of a Newt presidency:

For one or two of us, Mr. Gingrich’s most troubling characteristics are his attention span of a precocious 3-year-old and his latent tendency toward grandiosity. Perhaps in coming years he will learn to be able to sit down for more than five minutes at a time and concentrate and focus on a single thought. That would certainly be helpful in the White House. At present, President Gingrich would make Bill Clinton look sedate. But a president with a messianic sense of destiny and conviction that he is on earth to fundamentally alter history, with a comparison of himself to Winston Churchill (who never exhibited such a sense), is nothing less than a dangerous thing.

Churn up a mixture of messianic destiny, widespread contempt for those who differ, and an almost manic restlessness and we might soon have a nominee for president who, if elected, would provide many Americans with a sudden interest in a rather long sabbatical in more traditional and predictable democracies, especially those without nuclear arsenal.

Newt spells Robespierre.

Andrew Bacevich on the legacy of the Iraq War:

Central to that legacy has been Washington’s decisive and seemingly irrevocable abandonment of any semblance of self-restraint regarding the use of violence as an instrument of statecraft. With all remaining prudential, normative, and constitutional barriers to the use of force having now been set aside, war has become a normal condition, something that the great majority of Americans accept without complaint. War is U.S.

Next Page »