Saturday, September 28, 2013

Facts, not finger-pointing

The Affordable Care Act passed Congress and was signed into law by the president. That president subsequently campaigned on the law and was re-elected; his party expanded their majority in the Senate and actually won the popular vote for the House but, thanks to gerrymandering, don't control it (but did gain seats). Then the Supreme Court ruled the Affordable Care Act constitutional. Now poll after poll shows that while American people don't understand or support the ACA, they don't want to shut the government down over it. Does that mean the GOP should drop opposition to the law? Of course not - but there's a middle ground between dropping opposition and shutting down the government.

GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn is on the House floor, saying that Obama and Holder want the shutdown. The other day, GOP "Senator" Ted Cruz told Fox News that if the government shuts down, it will be Harry Reid and Barack Obama's fault. Look, elected Republicans can claim they want to keep the government open, but actions speak louder than words. They're only willing to do so for a couple short months and only if the majority of the government ignores all of the above and gives in to their biggest demands about reinstating preexisting conditions and rolling backing coverage. That's asinine!

This is the place to fight over funding levels - like whether or not to repeal the sequester - but not over basic policy that's already been through dozens of hoops. No, they don't get to blame anyone else for the shutdown. Our entire Congress is broken, including the Democrats, but this shutdown is the sole responsibility of House Republicans.

As NBC News (not MSNBC) put it: "Let’s remember how we got here – Republicans blocked going to budget conference and chose to use these deadlines to try and extract compromise instead."

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Why I Watch Too Much TV

Television is an amazing art form, when you stop and think about it. When in human history has a writer ever written 200 stories about the same characters? A few plays, a few novels, maybe a few dozen stories. But hundreds? TV offers writers and actors the chance to develop characters more deeply, show more of their lives, and (when non-linear, like the Simpsons) showcase them in more scenarios and contexts than ever before.

Yeah, there's trashy TV and lousy sitcoms and dramas, but that doesn't mean the medium doesn't also offer art; there are lousy books and paintings, too. When done right, though - when it's Breaking Bad, the West Wing, or Hill Street Blues - it's the finest character art that creativity has ever known. Even comedies like Cheers, Barney Miller, and All in the Family get to explore characters in a way never done before.

All I'm saying is, I think that's pretty cool.