I had hoped to tell you about the new woman in my life, but I am still writing that, so today I have four completely unrelated things to offer:
BARTLETT’S VIA BART BARKER’S BARTLEBY
Bartleby, you will recall, was a scrivener. What do you imagine he would have made of this handy link to Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations and so much more? (Thanks to Bart ‘Bartleby’ Barker for the link.)
Did you know that Dartmouth, which is in New Hampshire, is virtually in Vermont? A short walk? And that Vermont and New Hampshire are kept apart by the Connecticut River? Like, they had to bring in Connecticut to keep the two from coming to blows? How cool is that! You go, little ol’ Nutmeg State!
So you’ve probably read that the Democrats in the Texas legislature have fled to a Holiday Inn in Oklahoma to deny their colleagues a quorum. This is more than a merry prank, because it goes to the Republican plan to retain and increase control over all three branches of the Federal government. The idea is to redraw the Texas Congressional districts – which were just redrawn two years ago after the 2000 Census – in order to give the Republicans 7 more seats in the United States House of Representatives.
“The GOP plan could cement the Republican Party’s hold on power in Washington,” the Los Angeles Times reports in a truly fascinating story (even though you have to register to read it) that gives you some sense of what’s going on here. ‘In a ploy audacious even by the standards of Texas politics,’ the LA Times reports, ‘one of the GOP’s new congressional districts would be composed of two Republican-leaning areas, one north of Austin and one in the Rio Grande Valley – 300 miles away. The two areas would be connected by a mile-wide ribbon of land.’
Even this would be fun and games if there were not so much at stake in the different governing philosophies of the two Parties. One is mainly concerned with cutting government and avoiding taxes on the Best Off at almost any cost; the other takes (I would argue) a more balanced view.
Take Texas again (home not long ago to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney), facing a $10 billion budget deficit, and not about to subject its most fortunate citizens to even a penny of sacrifice.
Republican leaders in Texas ‘have proposed, among other things, reclassifying 56,000 elderly and disabled people so they are no longer ‘frail’ – making them ineligible for Medicaid,’ the Times reports.
Just what the doctor ordered.
And ‘an estimated 250,000 children from low-income families would be removed from the rolls of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Money set aside to replace antiquated textbooks in public schools has been cut, and teachers’ health insurance benefits are expected to drop considerably.’
You go, Texas Republicans! If that’s not enlightened leadership, I don’t know what is.
FINALLY, IF YOU WERE WONDERING WHERE THE LIBERAL PRESS IS . . .
. . . read Paul Krugman. He thinks he knows why it’s largely gone AWOL.