Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Blog update.

I'm not going to have time to make long posts on this blog anymore -- too many other things going on in my life. I will leave the blog contents online for a while -- but, more importantly, I will continue to provide short updates on what Rep. Carter is up to via my Twitter account (follow me here: @profsteed).

Keep up the good fight and turn Texas blue!

UPDATE 6/24/09: It looks like I'll probably be joining the bloggers over at Eye on Williamson, so while I won't be posting here anymore, the longer posts will continue (interspersed with the posts of other bloggers at EOW). And again, be sure to follow my much more frequent updates on Twitter (see above). -- JS

Another vote update.

HR 729 ("Phylicia's Law") just passed the House by a vote of 319-60 (84%-16%). The law is designed to "help keep students safe on school-run, overnight, off-premises field trips." The law requires schools that sponsor such trips "to develop, and provide to parents whose children are to be taken on such trips, written safety plans that include: (1) policies on curfews, room checks, and chaperone qualifications; and (2) emergency procedures to be followed when a serious injury or death occurs."

Hard to see how anyone could oppose this sort of thing -- and as you can see by the vote tally, an overwhelming majority supported it.

But not John Carter. He voted against it.

Go figure.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Not very friendly.

Rep. Carter just "unfriended" me on Facebook, presumably because my views differ from his and his other "friends."

I have been commenting on Rep. Carter's FB page for a while now, and I've always tried to be civil and rational -- though admittedly a few heated exchanges have erupted between me and some of his supporters. And while most of my comments have been somewhat critical of Carter, I have also tried to acknowledge when he's done or said something worthy of praise. What has always struck me as odd, though, is how quickly and often Carter's supporters have called for Carter to "unfriend" me, whenever I expressed a contrary opinion -- with the implication always being that my views would be more welcome elsewhere (and are not welcome on Carter's FB page).

Granted, Carter can be "friends" with whomever he chooses. But this is his regular "profile" page -- it is not a "supporter" page, where one is invited to "become a supporter." I would've thought that a public figure -- a government representative of TX-31 -- would want to hear the views of his constituents, even if they differed from his own. Perhaps especially if they differed from his own.

So much for "public service." It seems Rep. Carter is not interested in intelligent public discourse with constituents who might disagree. Rather, he's more interested in surrounding himself with supporters -- to whom he can feed complaints about, and criticism of, the Obama administration, while offering very little by way of positive or productive ideas or alternatives.

Is that what we want from our Representative?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Voting Update

Here's a rundown of Rep. Carter's recent votes in the House:
  • HR 1256 - Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act - This is the bill providing the FDA with the authority to regulate the tobacco industry. The FDA regulates all kinds of food and drugs that are much less toxic and harmful than tobacco, but the tobacco lobby has managed to hold off regulation of their product until now. The bill passed the House with a vote of 307-97 (76%-24%). John Carter voted no.
  • HR 1886 - The Peace Act - This bill authorizes democratic, economic, security, and social development assistance for Pakistan, among other things. This is important for fighting terrorism in that region, and the bill passed 234-185 (56%-44%). John Carter voted no.
  • H RES 453 - Recognizing the Significant Accomplishments of the Americorps - Normally I wouldn't pay any attention to these sorts of resolutions, because most of the time I think they're basically inconsequential and unimportant. But I wanted to highlight this one because usually these resolutions pass unanimously, or by extremely large margins, and this one is no exception. Americorps has done a lot of great work over the years, and deserves this recognition -- and this resolution passed by a vote of 359-60 (86%-14%). But John Carter voted against it.
  • HR 2751 - Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Act - This is the bill providing incentives to people to upgrade their vehicles for better fuel efficiency, sometimes called the "cash for clunkers" plan. This is good for the environment and for consumers. The bill passed 298-119 (72%-28%). John Carter voted no.
  • HR 1736 - International Science and Technology Cooperation Act of 2009 - This is a very popular bill that establishes a committee to identify and coordinate international science and technology cooperation to strengthen "the domestic science and technology enterprise," and to support U.S. foreign policy goals. The bill passed by a huge margin -- 341-52 (87%-13%) -- but once again, you guessed it: John Carter voted no.
  • Finally, there is HR 1709 - Stem Education Cordination Act of 2009 - This bill establishes a committee under the National Science and Technology Council to coordinate the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education activities and programs of all Federal agencies, among other things. This bill was the most popular of those listed here, passing by a vote of 352-39 (90%-10%). Yet, once again, John Carter voted no.
That's your TX-31 representative at work. If the GOP has become "the party of no," I think it's safe to say that John Carter is one of the biggest no-no's of the bunch. No?

Vote ABC (Anyone But Carter) in 2010!

Some good news.

Rep. Carter is co-sponsoring a bill that actually sounds like a pretty good idea. HR 2249 would
require states to mandate disclosure of information on hospital charges. The bill directs states to establish and maintain laws requiring disclosure of information on hospital charges and provide individuals with information about estimated out-of-pocket costs for health care services . Additionally, the bill requires hospitals and health plans to make such information available to the public.
The bill was introduced by Reps. Gene Green (D-TX) and Michael Burgess, M.D., (R-TX) and co-sponsored by Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) -- so it appears to be a thoroughly Texan piece of legislation.

I don't know the details, but again, it seems to be a pretty good idea, from what little I've seen.

So kudos to Rep. Carter for doing something worth applauding!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bottom of the barrel.

UPDATE II: It gets worse. All of what I say below can be disregarded (or read, merely to put what I say here into context). It appears Rep. Carter is engaging in pure deception. His Tweet (cited below) was identical to a post he made to Facebook, which -- on Facebook -- was accompanied by a link to a WSJ article. But that article makes it quite clear that Obama has firmly opposed the tax that Carter claims Obama is "open" to. The headline of the WSJ article ("Obama said to be open to taxing healthcare benefits") is technically accurate, because someone did "say" that Obama was open to this tax. But the headline is obviously misleading -- upon reading the actual article, one finds that the WH has asserted that Obama firmly opposes such a tax. Either (a) Carter knows this and has deliberately joined the WSJ in this deception, by going a step further to claim that Obama is in fact "open" to the tax (and not merely that he has been "said" to be open to it), or (b) Carter has been sloppy and failed to read the article, and has passed on (and heightened) the deception out of ignorance. Either way, the claim that Obama is "open" to this tax is a deception. Carter ought to be called out on it.

Original post:
I think Rep. Carter is running out of ammo. He's scraping the bottom of the barrel now, to come up with ways to attack Obama (or the Dems). And it looks a bit desperate and weak. Here's his latest Tweet, as an example (you can follow him @JudgeCarter):
Obama is open to taxing healthcare benefits to help cover the $600B shortfall for his healthcare overhaul. So much for that 95% tax cut.
How weak is this? Well, I can think of two things wrong with it, right off the bat.

First, Obama is "open" to this tax. Carter wants to attack Obama for merely being "open" to a tax -- it hasn't been proposed by Obama, or promoted by Obama, or signed into law by Obama. It isn't even being actively, currently considered by Obama. He's merely signaled that he is open to considering it. Yet Carter seems to think this is a strong enough basis for criticism. In fact, he seems to think it is a strong enough basis for insinuating that Obama was not being entirely honest about, or that he has somehow failed to remain true to, his claims about providing a tax cut to 95% of Americans. Ridiculous.

Second, even if Obama was actually signing into law a new tax on healthcare benefits, it wouldn't be a basis for this insinuation. Obama promised (and delivered) an income tax cut to 95% of Americans. He never promised, or even hinted or implied, that there would never be the possibility of new or increased taxes elsewhere. Carter is going out of his way to conflate the income tax cut with the possibility of a tax on healthcare benefits in order to suggest that Obama has been dishonest or has failed in some way. Again, ridiculous.

And weak.

And, of course, note that Carter is not offering any new ideas or alternative policies for consideration. It seems weak attacks from the bottom of the barrel are all he's got lately.

We really need new representation in 2010, don't we?

UPDATE: Just thought of another reason this attack is weak -- and maybe even disingenuous or dishonest, on Carter's part. If I understand it correctly (as I recall), the tax on healthcare benefits would run against businesses -- that is, the $$ businesses use to pay for employee healthcare is not currently taxed, and the idea here is to tax that $$. This would not be passed on to employees in any way, though I suppose the cost could be passed on to consumers indirectly. The point is that the tax won't have any direct impact on regular folks, and even the indirect impact is likely to be negligible. Certainly not enough to erase the income tax cuts, as Carter suggests. But I'll admit, I could be wrong about how I understand this -- and it has to be reiterated that such a tax is NOT in the works. Obama is merely "open" to it, remember? Hardly something to get upset about....

Sunday, May 17, 2009

No to jobs. No to schools. No to the environment.

A great new bill was passed by the House a few days ago. It will provide money for badly needed new schools, which will create jobs (employing people to build these new schools, etc.) -- and it requires that the new schools be "green" construction, etc., so it's good for the environment (and stimulates businesses that provide "green" goods and services, which is again good for the economy). For more about the bill, see here.

The bill passed the House 275-155 (or 64%-36%), so it was quite popular, passing by a fairly wide margin.

But, of course, our own Rep. Carter voted against it.

Surprise, surprise.

Just one more reason to vote against John Carter in 2010.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Finally, a dose of sanity.

I do have to agree with this nugget from Rep. Carter, which he posted to both Facebook and Twitter:
"One of the greatest things about being an American is that you can disagree politically during the day, and go share a beer at night."
I do wonder, though -- does this mean Carter is willing to go have a beer and hang out with a Marxist? Somehow I'm doubtful of this....