Icon from Nuvola icon theme for KDE 3.x. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We took our son out to dinner yesterday to a restaurant in Ancestor Square, the very heart of Saint George where Brigham Young used to winter with some of his wives. Here in Saint George we hear nothing but scorn for the Affordable Care Act and President Obama, and Utah refused to offer expanded health care to its citizens. To my surprise and delight, I saw a parked, upscale SUV with a sticker in its rear window, I love Obamacare. So even here in the reddest state in the union, there are some supporters of the President and his signature, at least so far, accomplishment
Official portrait of United States Senator Mike Lee. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Senator Mike Lee appeared yesterday at a GOP sponsored Freedom Forum at the local college. With less than 12 hours notice, I decided not to attend. My comments that follow are based on an account published today in The Spectrum, our local Saint George newspaper.
Attendees cheered as Lee spoke about the national debt. Lee said, “If we start now, we can make some relatively modest cuts to a lot of programs to make them sustainable. It will hurt a lot of people who depend on (these programs), and the poor suffer the most when we do that. We can get to a point where we get the balance and we don’t have a $1 trillion annual interest payment, but these things have to be done more gradually.”
Apparently, Lee did not explain that under the Ryan plan, annual deficits will be cut gradually while at the same time the composition of the budget is shifted dramatically to favor military expenditures over safety net programs. Under GOP leadership the elderly and the poor suffer most during recessions and the Great Recession is no different. Instead of increasing our military budget, we should be making dramatic cuts there so that we can maintain or increase our safety net programs. Depending on the source, the US has between 700 and 1,000 foreign military installations, and we are moving into the African continent, an unstable area that will lead to more wars. We can no longer afford to be the world’s policeman nor should we.
English: President Barack Obama’s signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010. The President signed the bill with 22 different pens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Recently I attended a town hall here in Saint George to meet my newly elected US Representative Chris Stewart. Chris is a retired USAF pilot and a best-selling author and a member of the GOP. He represents the 2nd district in Utah which is geographically the largest of our four districts, stretching 320 miles from Saint George to Chris’s home in Farmington, north of Salt Lake City. Chris lives farther away from Saint George than do our two Senators, Orrin Hatch in Salt Lake City and Mike Lee in Alpine, a Salt Lake City suburb. I believe that Congressional districts should be compact and competitive so that my vote can make a difference. Only the 4th district is both compact and somewhat competitive, and it is now represented by Jim Matheson who was my representative in Congress before the 2010 census and subsequent redistricting.
I attended the town hall to see how many attended and the strength of the defund Obamacare movement. There were between 600 and 700 attendees, mostly elderly because of the 5:30 pm timing and all were white. They gave raucous support to defunding Obamacare. Chris stated his strategy was to defund or delay. Chris spoke for a short time before opening the floor to questions. He asked for short, focused questions, but most were long and rambling. Chris said that the sequester was a terrible law, but that he voted for it. As an excuse, he stated that the sequester was President Obama’s idea. That is false. In addition, if it were Obama’s idea, the GOP would not have voted for it, since they oppose the President at all costs.
I really do not understand the logic of opposing Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) by the vast majority of the attendees at the town hall. I assume the majority are on Medicare and will scarcely be affected by Obamacare at all. Perhaps more people are on Medicare Advantage than I thought. When I turned 65 and was eligible for Medicare, I investigated the choices and selected Medicare over Medicare Advantage because I was convinced that Medicare Advantage was a GOP plot to wean seniors from Medicare and then terminate Medicare and voucherize Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage costs the government more than Medicare and will be restructured under Obamacare to help fund extending insurance to 30 million of the uninsured.
The land in and around St. George is naturally a vivid red. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I often drive between Saint George, Utah, and Southern California. On the return drive, the temperature in summer often starts in the 60s in Southern California and mounts to 105 to 110 degrees F. in Saint George. I like to see how closely I can match my speed to the temperature on the drive. I call the game “driving the temperature,” and I usually must stop around 85 miles per hour which happens in the morning not far from Barstow. Today I went grocery shopping with the temperature at 98 degrees F. I spent $94.00 and now I have a new game I call “shopping the temperature.”
Southern Utah Thunderbirds athletic logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The number one reason people visit Saint George here in warm and sunny Southern Utah is softball. With that thought in mind, I decided to create a fictitious league of teams from the surrounding area. Initially there were four teams, but I have decided to expand it to eight. These teams do not exist, but they should. My favorite is the Mesquite, Nevada team.
Saint George Dragons
Cedar City Waxwings
Colorado City Slickers
Santa Clara Rivers