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Free Market Approaches to Health Care Reform Are Better for Gays

While a number of gay organizations have joined their left-wing cohorts in backing the President’s push to overhaul our health care system, Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, offers a word of caution:

The truth is that Democratic efforts to expand government-run healthcare will expand discrimination and make quality, affordable healthcare even less available to gay and lesbian families all across the country.

The Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress with overwhelming bipartisan support, and signed by a Democratic president — Bill Clinton — prohibits the extension of domestic partner healthcare benefits and denies recognition of any same-sex relationship.  Indeed, even the Obama administration admitted that this legislation would bar the extension of domestic partner healthcare benefits.

Emphasis added.  And then there’s the matter of gay people who work for small companies that currently offer domestic partnership benefits.  If the cost of the federal penalty for not providing health insurance is less than the cost they are currently paying for health insurance, some businesses may, in order to cut costs, choose to pay the penalty instead of offering coverage, potentially forcing both partners into the public option.

Rather than a “do nothing” approach to health care reform (and so fulfill the caricature the President has drawn of his opponents), LaSalvia believes that “free-market healthcare reforms . . . will expand access to domestic partner benefits,” meaning more choices for people like us. Echoing a point I have often made on this blog, LaSalvia points out that the free market has responded more quickly to the increasing social acceptance of gay men and lesbians than has government at all levels: (more…)

With Yosi Gone, is Buffy Next?

Welcome Instapundit and  Big Government readers!

Now that former National Endowment for the Arts communications director Yosi Sergant has resigned from the National Endowment for the Arts after leading that conference call, will his White House counterpart Buffy Wicks also step down?  (Via Instapundit.)  As Patrick Courrielche, who also participated, reminds us:

And from the transcript of the call it is obvious that she was aware of the goal of the call, which was to “support some of the President’s initiatives,” and cognizant of the audience’s affinity for the President, hence her thanking them for the two-plus years of support on his campaign.

In his piece, Courrielche explains why this resignation does not end the matter.  To be sure, NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman faultedthe call for being ‘inappropriate and [saying] that Sergant had acted “unilaterally” in helping to organize it.”

Yeah, but Ms. Wicks, a White House official, was also in on the call.  That may be unilateral from the point of view of the NEA, but not if we recall that he appears to be acting on behalf of the Administration.  If it’s inappropriate for one government official to be in on the call, wouldn’t it then follow that it’s inappropriate for other federal officials to actively promote the political agenda of her colleague at the NEA.

Courrielche wants to know just how unilateral was the call, asking

. . .  what specific aspect of his actions were unilateral and without approval? Definitely not the encouragement of the art community to tackle health care, energy and the environment, because that same request was part of a different but similar conference call invitation scheduled for August 27th. That invitation was sent out by Kalpen Modi (”Kal Penn”), Associate Director for the White House Office of Public Engagement, and was sent to a completely different arts group.

And then there’s the little matter of the “a group of 21 arts organizations” endorsing the President’s health reform plan only 48 hours after the call.  Did Buffy do anything more to round up their support?

While the White House and the media may wish to move on, this matter is far from over.   (more…)

Do We Need a “National Equality March”?

Earlier today I participated in a conference call with organizers of “The National Equality March” and a handful of gay bloggers (with a seeming superabundance from one particular blog).  Skeptical about the necessity of such a gathering, I listened in primarily to hear the rally’s representatives make a case for their gathering.

And while I did not come away convinced of its necessity, I did come away impressed by their tone.  My skepticism grows out of the apparent diffusion of their goals.  They lack a big-picture strategy, unclear what they wanted to do after the march.

This idea for this event grew out of the unrest in gay communities that followed the passage of Proposition 8.  Robin McGehee, one of the organizers on the call, had been kicked off her PTA by a pastor because of her activism against that successful California ballot measure (enshrining the traditional definition of marriage in the Golden State’s constitution).

She and the other organizers were at pains to point out that this was not run by a national organization and was truly a grassroots effort. Kip Williams, Director of Equality Across America, the group coordinating the march, says they hope to model a movement on the “Camp Obama method of organization,” using “personal stories as organizing tools.”  Another representative (I believe it was McGehee) said they seek”to support and serve people who want to do grassroots community organizing at the local level.”

They hope to set up committees in each of the 435 congressional districts.

Still, absent specific goals, I doubt they’ll be very effective.  One caller broached an issue I had intended to bring up, focusing on repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the military.  With polls showing a majority of Americans supporting repeal (even a majority of conservatives), moving this issue to the fore could help improve the image of gays and lesbians, showing us as ready to serve and sacrifice for our country and for our freedom. (more…)

Are Democratic Governors Bad for Business?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:18 pm - September 24, 2009.
Filed under: Economy,Random Thoughts

Glenn links an interesting post considering  the “2010 State Business Tax Climate Index, which ranks the fifty states according to five indices: corporate tax, individual income tax, sales tax, unemployment insurance tax, and property tax. Here are the ten states with the best and worst business tax climates.”

Blogger Paul L. Caron points out that

. . . all ten of the states with the worst business tax climates voted for Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, and five of the ten states with the best business tax climates voted for John McCain (South Dakota #1, Wyoming (#2), Alaska (#3), Montana (#6), and Utah (#10)).

Something different struck me.  Of the five states with the best business climate (South Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Nevada and Florida), four have Republican Governors.  In Wyoming, the one state (on that list) with a Democratic chief executive, the legislature is overwhelmingly Republican.

Of the five states with the worst business climate (Iowa, Ohio, California, New York and New Jersey), four have Democratic Governors.  In California, the one state (on that list) with a Republican chief executive, the legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic. (more…)

Pelosi’s Last Term as Speaker

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:40 pm - September 24, 2009.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,Congress (111th),Pelosi Watch

I am not yet ready to predict that Republicans will retake the House of Representatives next fall, but if I were a betting man, I just might bet on their triumph. The odds may be long, but with independents increasingly moving away from the Democrats, the stars seem to be aligning for Republican victories next fall.

Looking at those numbers, Chris Stirewalt, Political Editor at the Washington Examiner says if Democrats “can’t find a way to get” those independents “back, the party could be in deep trouble for 2010 and beyond“:

More shocking is that independent voters now favor a Republican-controlled Congress by a four-point margin and would overwhelmingly like to see their own member of the House replaced.

Those are the kinds of numbers you see before electoral hurricanes like 1966 or 1994. And if independents are already at that point after so recently enduring the shoddy performance of the previous GOP majority, it’s a sign of real dissatisfaction. Democrats have grown very jittery about the congressional elections in 2010.

While Michael Barone is not as sanguine as the numbers might suggest, noting the difficult of predicting results in 435 individual races with many challengers yet unknown, he points out “that over the years generic vote questions have tended to understate the ultimate Republican percentage of the popular vote for the House“. Still, he pegs Republican chances at recapturing the House “at well below 50%.”

I grant it’s still early, but will make this one prediction: this is Nancy Pelosi’s last term as Speaker of the House. Should Republicans recapture Congress, of course, she’ll be out of the job, but even if Democrats manage to retain their majority, they will do so with diminished numbers; many in her caucus will be eager to cast her out.

Centrist Democrats are none too pleased with the way she’s been running the show: (more…)

UPDATE: NJ Schoolkids Taught to Praise Obama

Watch this if you dare.  It is creepy and I’m afraid only a taste of what is to come with this President and his lunatic worshippers. (h/t – ConservativeGen on Twitter)

UPDATE: I think we were one of the first blogs to show this video yesterday and now it has started to go “viral” on Twitter and other conservative blogs.   The location of the school has been discovered by blog readers: B. Bernice Young Elementary School in Burlington NJ.  Time for the teacher to be named.

I was going to hold off posting this until I found out where & when this occurred.  But I thought the best way to get that information was to post it here and see if anyone could find out.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

UPDATE (from Dan): If that video above had been about George W. Bush, I wonder how many people would have called for the disciplining and/or firing of the teachers who had the students sing the song. If you’re not sick enough already, check out this pop quiz one teacher gave to his students. Don’t think you’ll ever find any such classroom interrogations about George W. Bush speeches. And how his critics faulted us for reverencing the man as a Dear Leader.

Obama at the UN: Since I’m not George W. Bush, I can make everything right (but it will take a little work)

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:54 am - September 24, 2009.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Obama Bashing America

After having read the President’s address yesterday to the United Nations, I fear that the next three-and-one-half years will not only be difficult for the United States, but also for the world.  And while Mr. Obama may claim he is looking forward, he sounded like he was doing his utmost to looking back in order to distinguish himself from his predecessor.  Indeed, at times, that seemed the animating theme of the speech.

In order to make sure he distinguished himself adequately from George W. Bush, his rhetoric seemed at cross purposes.  At one point, he reminds us that the “Assembly’s Charter” reaffirms

. . . the freedom to speak your mind and worship as you please. . . ; the ability of citizens to have a say in how you are governed, and to have confidence in the administration of justice.  For just as no nation should be forced to accept the tyranny of another nation, no individual should be forced to accept the tyranny of their own people.

And while he opposes the tyranny of their own people, he wants to make clear he’s not promoting democracy as did his predecessor:

Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside. Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect.  Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people and in its past traditions.  And I admit that America has too often been selective in its promotion of democracy.  But that does not weaken our commitment; it only reinforces it.  There are basic principles that are universal; there are certain truths which are self-evident — and the United States of America will never waver in our efforts to stand up for the right of people everywhere to determine their own destiny.

This paragraph reads like a mishmash of empty rhetoric, noble notions and anti-Bush broadsides (only semi-cleverly concealed Bush-bashing).  So, how does a people go about determining its destiny if it suffers under the tyranny of its own people?  Is there a means other than fee elections?  He didn’t say nor did he include self-determination in his four pillars of U.S. foreign policy (and left out security, though one could say that was implied under the pillar of peace).

It seemed he thought that if we just ended the “misperceptions and misinformation about my country,” well, then the United States would be a force for a good.  He just doesn’t  understand that some nations further such misperceptions and generate such misinformation to further their own ends.  Extending an olive branch to Iran has done nothing to soften their hostility to the United States (nor their repression of their own people).   The leaders of that regime believe they need the ideology of the “Great Satan” to survive.

No wonder Nile Gardiner wonders if this speech were Obama’s most naïve ever. (more…)

Would ENDA lead to forced “outing”?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:55 am - September 24, 2009.
Filed under: Freedom,Random Thoughts

Yesterday Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), held a hearing of the House Education & Labor Committee, which he chairs to consider the Employment Non-Discrimination Act  (ENDA), a bill which would bar private companies from discriminating against gay men and lesbians.  And while some may say this is just an issue of workplace fairness, the real issue here is whether or not we need another law limiting the freedom of private employers.

Of course, it’s wrong to discriminate against an employee just because he (or she) is gay, but it isn’t the government’s business to prevent business owners from doing wrong.

And anyway, this bill is unnecessary.

The latest edition of State of the Workplace, a publication of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), shows what all past editions have shown: an ever-increasing number of corporations have adopted non-discrimination clauses protecting gay and lesbian employees (and offering domestic partnership benefits as well).  In 2008, 423 companies in the Fortune 500 had adopted such non-discrimination laws whereas 360 had done so five years previously.  ENDA, in short, is a solution in search of a problem.

Should this legislation pass, how would a liberal Administration enforce it, would the Holder Justice Department bring “disparate impact” lawsuits against corporations that don’t have the proper amount of homosexuals in their workforce.  Would a lower percentage of gay people in the workforce (than in the surrounding jurisdiction) be evidence of discrimination as some liberals believe a lower proportion of minorities (than in the population at large) is prima facie evidence of discrimination? (See e.g., Sonia Sotomayor and the Ricci decision). (more…)

Independents Increasingly Disapprove of Obama

In a poll (latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll) which vastly oversamples Democrats (41% of respondents are Democrats, 29% Republican whereas Gallup shows a much narrower split), a considerable plurality of Americans, 45% think the “stimulus” was a bad idea compared to 34% who think it was a good idea.  If you adjusted those numbers to reflect the real party break-down in the United States, it could be as many as half of all Americans doubt the effectiveness of the “stimulus.”

But, the real striking number is the poll was not the oversampling of Democrats, but that of the number of independents disapproving of the President’s performance:

For the first time, independent voters — who delivered Mr. Obama the White House and Democrats control of Congress — disapprove of the job he is doing, by 46% compared with the 41% who approve. In July, 49% of independents approved of the president, against 38% who disapproved.

NBC (& even the Wall Street Journal!) tries to spin this as showing the President making gains on health care and the economy, but as Allahpundit points out

. . . the gains are so slight as to be within the margin of error. A plurality still opposes the public option (46/48, up slightly from 43/47 in August but still down from 46/44 in July) and 59 percent say they’d either prefer or demand that a mandate to buy insurance not be included in the final bill.

(more…)