Infrastructure: It's Job 1 to Americans

The LATimes has some interesting poll results and maybe not what you'd expect in an op-ed from Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

A poll finds near unanimous support for rebuilding.

By Frank Luntz

January 23, 2009

I'm a pollster and political consultant associated with Republican causes: the Contract with America, the "death tax" and, of course, ending wasteful Washington spending. So why am I behind the new stimulus legislation -- the biggest spending bill ever to be considered by Congress? Maybe because when it comes to some things -- crumbling schools, overcrowded highways, an ineffective energy system, clean-water facilities that don't clean water and trains and planes that are always late -- we're all on the same side.

Last month, I conducted a national survey of 800 registered voters on their attitudes toward infrastructure investment. It was commissioned by Building America's Future, a bipartisan coalition of elected officials -- chaired by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg -- formed to support infrastructure investment.

The survey's findings were unlike any other issue I have polled in more than a decade. Iraq, healthcare, taxes, education -- they all predictably divide and polarize Americans into political camps. Not infrastructure.

Consider this: A near unanimous 94% of Americans are concerned about our nation's infrastructure. And this concern cuts across all regions of the country and across urban, suburban and rural communities.

Massive outlays a necessary tonic that leaves behind painful debt

Remember this statement?
“...And we can proceed with tax relief without fear of budget deficits, even if the economy softens. The projections for the surplus in my budget are cautious and conservative. ” [President Bush, Remarks, 3/27/2001]
Or this one?
“[O]ur budget will run a deficit that will be small and short-term.” [President Bush, 01/29/2002]
The deficit has now grown to $37,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States. From an AP analysis story:
It's hard to believe that just eight years ago -- as President Bill Clinton was leaving office and Texas Gov. George W. Bush was preparing to be sworn in -- there was a projected $5.6 trillion 10-year budget surplus. Both Clinton and Bush talked of using part of it to retire the national debt by the end of the decade. Instead, the bursting of the technology bubble, big Bush tax cuts, the Sept. 11 attack, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, increased spending on homeland security, a mild recession in 2001 and the current financial meltdown intervened.

Bush has successfully defended anti-terrorism policies

Good piece of new analysis about how Bush has been quite successful at defending his torture and wiretapping policies using procedural barriers to prevent lawsuits.

Sadly, Democrats in Congress have thwarted efforts to restrain Bush's policies:
"Nonetheless, Bush's anti-terrorism policies have not been blocked by the courts or Congress. When the Supreme Court struck down Bush's use of special military trials at Guantanamo on grounds that he had no legal basis for creating them, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act to authorize the trials.

When critics claimed the National Security Agency was violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by intercepting calls without a warrant, Congress passed a law to authorize such wiretapping. The same measure also granted legal immunity to telephone companies that had cooperated with the administration.

Bush's tenure has been particularly frustrating for civil libertarians. They had believed that when the government violated the Constitution, someone could go to court and challenge it. But it's not clear that truism is still true."

http://www.latimes.com/news/la-na-bush-terror-law30-2008dec30,0,5295760.story?track=ntothtml

Cutting Worker Costs Key To Automakers' Survival

A good story netting out the domestic auto industry labor problem:
"The current per-hour employee cost for U.S. automakers is around 50 percent higher than the costs for their foreign counterparts. The difference, however, is not simply a matter of hourly wage. As it turns out, the real wage discrepancy mostly comes down to retiree benefits."
Unfortunately, it's hard to find any recent reporting about why Detroit can't build cars that people want to buy.
NPR's Talk of the Nation had a good discussion about all of this.

Traditionally Republican Columbus suburbs trending blue

From the Columbus Dispatch: 'GOP's grip on county suburbs slipping':

"Reynoldsburg went for Barack Obama on Tuesday, the first time in recent memory that the reliably Republican suburb turned to a Democrat for president.

Obama took Franklin County by winning nearly 100,000 more votes than John McCain did, powered by the huge margins piled up in Columbus precincts. But Obama also was aided by once-staunchly Republican suburbs that are becoming more politically diverse and shifting to Democrats, an analysis of Franklin County elections data shows."

Republican divisive political tactics and out-of-touch policies that we saw so much of in this election cycle are taking their toll in UA as well:

"In Upper Arlington, Bush defeated Democrat Al Gore by almost 5,000 votes in 2000. Four years later, Bush's victory margin dropped to 2,718. On Tuesday, the suburb went Republican by 886 votes.

Voters choose a candidate "more for what they see the issues are; party loyalty may be getting less firm," veteran Upper Arlington City Manager Virginia Barney said.

Barney said her city shares more similarities with Columbus neighborhoods such as Clintonville and Victorian Village, which leaned toward Obama, than with Hilliard, Grove City or Marysville, which stayed strongly Republican in Tuesday's election."

Red Sex, Blue Sex

The “sexual début” of an evangelical girl typically occurs just after she turns sixteen.

The highest divorce and teen pregnancy rates are in red states, the lowest in blue states. Margaret Talbot digs beneath the numbers to wonder, why do so many evangelical teen-agers become pregnant?

[T]he red-state [abstinence] model is clearly failing on its own terms—producing high rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, sexually transmitted disease, and other dysfunctional outcomes that social conservatives say they abhor. […]

For too long, the conventional wisdom has been that social conservatives are the upholders of family values, whereas liberals are the proponents of a polymorphous selfishness. This isn’t true, and, every once in a while, liberals might point that out.

America’s dominant political divide:

Social liberals in the country’s “blue states” tend to support sex education and are not particularly troubled by the idea that many teen-agers have sex before marriage, but would regard a teen-age daughter’s pregnancy as devastating news. And the social conservatives in “red states” generally advocate abstinence-only education and denounce sex before marriage, but are relatively unruffled if a teen-ager becomes pregnant, as long as she doesn’t choose to have an abortion.

We hold these truths

Signed, sealed, delivered

60,000 turn out for Obama rally in Columbus

Over 60,000 Ohioans turned out Sunday afternoon, November 2, for a campaign rally held on the west lawn of Ohio's state house in downtown Columbus. The whole Obama family -- Barack, Michelle, and their daughters Malia and Sasha -- made a final swing through the Buckeye State on the brink of Tuesday's Election Day.

Barack greeted the crowd with a reminder that voting is already underway in Ohio. "If you haven't voted yet, it would be a shame for you to come to a rally and not vote!" He pointed out that the early voting location in Franklin County is merely a few blocks from the state house and encouraged the rally-goers to take the opportunity after the rally to go vote. (Click here to learn more about early voting in Ohio. Click here to see more photos from the rally.)

Visit www.voteforchange.com to find out what you need to know to cast your vote and usher in a new era of change in this country. Click here to volunteer in your neighborhood on Election Day.

UAPA issue endorsements

Here's a summary of UAPA's position on ballot issues 1, 2, 5 and 6:

  • Issue 1: Vote YES.
  • Issue 2: Vote YES.
  • Issue 5: Vote YES.
  • Issue 6: Vote NO.

ProgressOhio has conveniently deciphered the ballot issues and summarized them in a one page document. And here's a sample ballot of endorsed Democratic candidates to print and take with you to the polls.

UAPA's positions on the ballot issues align closely with those of the editors from Ohio's largest daily newspapers:

Newspaper or blog Ohio Issue 1 Ohio Issue 2 Ohio Issue 3 Ohio Issue 5/Payday loans Ohio Issue 6/Casino
Akron Beacon Journal - - - Yes No
Cincinnati Enquirer Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Cleveland Plain Dealer Yes Yes - Yes No
Columbus Dispatch Yes Yes Yes Yes No
The Courier - Findlay Yes Yes - - No
Canton Repository Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Dayton Daily News Yes Yes - Yes No
Mansfield NewsJournal
YesYesYesYes
Newark Advocate - - - No -
Toledo Blade Yes Yes No Yes No
Youngstown Vindicator - Yes - Yes No
Zanesville Times Recorder Yes Yes Yes Yes No

 

And here's the our rationale for our positions:

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