Posts Tagged ‘Tom Coburn’
Update: It has passed. Success.
It appears as if a deal has been reached to pass the health care bill for first responders. This makes it likely the bill itself will be passed soon.
In order to satisfy guys like Coburn (who refused to meet with responders), they had to cut the funding from $7.4 billion to $4.3 billion. They also had to change the funding for the bill from a tax on foreign corporations to fees to countries that provide goods and services to our government overseas.
It sucks that it had to come to pleasing guys like Coburn in order to do what is right, but it looks as though they will finally get it done.
Enjoy the victory (hopefully).
Fox News has stepped up its coverage of the first responders bill (though only Chris Wallace and Shep Smith are willing to say Republicans are blocking the bill). Yesterday Shep Smith, who has shown he will say what he thinks, named Republicans that were unwilling to explain their stance against this bill. Today he went after Tom Coburn for still wanting to block it.
It seems that Jon Stewart has succeeded in making this an important issue. From Smith’s show yesterday:
We called a lot of Republicans today who are in office at the moment. These are the ones who told us ‘no’: Senators Alexander, Barrasso, Cornyn, Crapo, DeMint, Enzi, Grassley, Kyl, McConnell, Sessions, Baucus, Gregg, and Inhofe. No response from Bunning, Coburn, Ensign, Graham, Hatch, and McCain.
“…both sides didn’t come to the same page after the tax deal went through. Both sides came to the same page when Jon Stewart did an entire hour, his last hour of the year, on this, and brought on people who were dying. And it took that to get this done.”
Kudos to Shep for covering this as it should be covered. Let’s hope this gets fixed soon.
Enjoy a fantasy novel to escape the doldrums of winter.
Tom Coburn, as noted in an earlier post that’s generated a lot of heat for some reason, said fear mongering like saying you’ll go to jail if you don’t have insurance makes for great TV on Fox, but it’s not the point of reform. This seems like an incredibly logical thing to say and it makes a great point. Bill O’Reilly recently took Coburn to task for this statement. O’Reilly’s team apparently researched it, and no one had ever said that on Fox News. I think we all know where this is going.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the people that do the research for the shows on Fox News are really bad at their job.
Enjoy Dennis Miller making a weird reference and passing it off as an original joke (that’s for regular guys, not famous comedians).
Update: If more people would realize that what Coburn says is true, we’d have less stuff like this going on.
Tom Coburn had a town hall with some fiery guests, and he shocked many of them with his defense of Nancy Pelosi. When he discussed his policy differences with Pelosi, he called her a nice lady. The crowd booed and hissed, and he replied, “Come on now. She is nice – how many of you all have met her? She’s a nice person.”
He has a great point here, and we’re all guilty of forgetting it. Just because we disagree with someone does not mean they are evil. I try to remind myself (and you) that we all have friends that hold positions opposite our own, and this means that any politician that we disagree with could be our friend.
Although I hate Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann and believe they are insane, but I don’t have any friends that crazy.
Coburn also had harsh words for Fox News. A woman complained that she would be thrown in jail for not getting insurance, and Coburn quickly said that is not the point. “The intention is not to put any one in jail. That makes for good TV news on FOX but that isn’t the intention.”
He also said, “So don’t catch yourself being biased by FOX News that somebody is no good. The people in Washington are good. They just don’t know what they don’t know.”
A valid point from a man I rarely agree with.
Enjoy a free MLB Extra Innings preview.
Tom Coburn attempted to shut down NSF funding of political science research (and I destroyed him here) but the Senate said “No!” by a count of 36-62 (with two no votes). You can click here to check out how everyone voted.
Or I can just tell you about states of interest. Tim Johnson voted against the amendment and John Thune voted for it. I really hoped Thune would vote against it just because it was so silly, but it fell pretty much on party lines. An interesting exception is that Ben Nelson (D-NE) voted for it while Mike Johanns (R-NE) voted against it. Yet another instance of Nelson making me regret ever volunteering for him (he’s a pretty evil lesser of two evils).
Another disappointing yea was Jim Webb. I thought he was my man. Lieberman voted nay, which was a nice change from my constant anger at his decisions and reasoning.
But a big woo-hoo for political science.
Enjoy this sweet, sweet victory.
If you’ve read my first post, you know I am a graduate student in the Political Science Department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We have some professors doing some incredible things that are contributing not just to our understanding of political behavior, but human behavior in general. One of our professors is a pioneer in the field of human rights. The work done in our department can help us understand why people behave as they do, why they do or do not vote, what types of political communication are effective, what types of post-atrocity justice work the best, and loads and loads of other things.
Much of this work costs money to do. There are various places to receive grants, including the National Science Foundation. Though we receive grants, they are nothing in comparison to what other fields receive. But there is little that can be studied without funding. Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) hopes to eliminate NSF political science funding. The same funding that gave 28 grants to Elinor Ostrom that helped her do the research that led to a Nobel Prize.
I know Coburn probably doesn’t care about Nobel Prizes, but I think it demonstrates political scientists should not be cut off. I noticed he doesn’t want to cut off funding from other social sciences, just political science. How is that even possible? Political science is closely associated with economics, sociology, anthropology, history, law, psychology, and even hard sciences, like biology, as I wrote about here. This portion of political science research puts a dent in Coburn’s claim that political science isn’t science enough. Also, the fact that he’s willing to fund other social sciences shows that this whole amendment is pretty ridiculous. I also wonder what he thinks of public policy research. Is that worthwhile, though it is a field of political science? Should they quit studying the outcomes of different policies?
I don’t like the idea of cutting funding or support from any field of academia, especially when that field happens to be the one I’ve studied for that last seven years.
Here is a pretty scathing critique of Coburn’s flawed logic. It seems more like he has an axe to grind than actually believes political science funding is a problem. He doesn’t like the findings of the Human Rights Project. He doesn’t like who some of the grants are given to. Though this can be said of any field, as I do remember a stink being raised about stem cell research, greenhouse gas research, and other Republican bugaboos. Perhaps he just wants funding to be approved by his party.
Here is one of the worst things he says:
Theories on political behavior are best left to CNN, pollsters, pundits, historians, candidates, political parties, and the voters, rather than being funded out of taxpayers’ wallets…
That’s right, theories of political behavior should be left to pundits. That’s certainly more scientific than the meticulous gathering of data and analysis of the numbers. Or the years qualitative researchers spend in other countries in order to understand their culture, language, and history so that they may have the best conclusions possible. Let’s just let Olbermann, Beck, Limbaugh, and Joe the Plumber try to understand political behavior, because that makes so much sense.
Coburn had some other gems in support of this publicity stunt. He said funding political science was going to “waterboard” our children with debt. The roughly $9 million for political science research is what is drowning us in debt, really? Also, when saying the Human Rights Project shouldn’t have funding because they found the United States violated human rights, you probably shouldn’t use words like “waterboard.” Plus, if you buy the Republican explanations of waterboarding, it is a harmless simulation that is totally legal. So our children should be fine, even with the insanely large $9 million in political science funding.
I feel the need to further comment on the diversity of the field of political science. Though each area of political science has different divides and debates, there is a sort of general one that goes on throughout the field. It is between those political scientists that conduct business as though they were in the hard sciences (which can be thought of as the positivist movement) and those that feel we need to attempt to have a positive impact on the world we study (which can be called the Perestroika movement, briefly discussed here). The division, for my money, is a good thing. It creates a wealth of methodological diversity. It also provides solid responses to Coburn’s argument. Positivist political scientists are very scientific in the way they approach their research, just as the scientists in the fields Coburn commends are. But there are also those political scientists that would try to do research to help solve the problems the world faces. Coburn argues there is no benefit from political science, but this movement demonstrates he is wrong. It is the goal of many political scientists to understand the world to improve it.
I like that Coburn goes after frivolous earmarks, but this isn’t one of those. This funding isn’t something a senator uses to try to curb favor with his state or money for a friend. This is a modest amount of funding to try and better understand the human condition and the world we live in. It is to try and solve problems, such as the refugee problem, how to prevent human rights atrocities, and why armed conflict occurs.
I just don’t get what Coburn’s deal is. Let’s hope this amendment is crushed.
Enjoy political scientists and their great work.
One of the most ironic moments from that night came from Carrie Prejean, former Miss California who got her moment of fame by claiming to love America because people were free, as long as you aren’t gay. Her speech was a bit weird and she did the whole martyr thing (thought she was dethroned two months after the statement for missing public appearances). Perjean, after noting that she wasn’t into politics, says the following:
But now I have a new outlook on this. And I am disgusted at the way some people can be so intolerant. It disgusts me.”
That’s right, little miss “you can’t get married because that is my interpretation of my religion” cannot believe how intolerant people are. I believe she is saying she can’t believe people are intolerant of her intolerance. Well, when you ask for a speech from a beauty pageant contestant, you should know what you’re getting into.
Here’s that video:
Another interesting moment came from Michael Schwartz, who is the chief of staff for Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Schwartz claims that:
Homosexuality is inflicted on people… But all pornography is homosexual pornography because all pornography turns your sexual drive inwards. And that in fact is what it does.
Perhaps there is a porn conspiracy about which we do not know. They show unassuming heterosexual males heterosexual porn in an attempt to turn them homosexual. Then once they’re homosexual, they charge them boatloads for homosexual porn. After that, the legions of homosexuals created by porn will be in huge debt because of all the homosexual porn. This allows the porn kings to hire, at reduced rates, all the newly created homosexuals on the cheap.
Or, in a much weirder scenario, perhaps some people are just born attracted to members of the same sex. And perhaps Schwartz just has a lot of bored, sexually frustrated friends (who, by his estimation, should already be gay).
Here’s the video:
But wow, the Family Research Center can sure throw one helluva Values Voter Summit, huh?
Enjoy the celebration of small-mindedness.
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