So the shortest month is now almost a memory and there really hasn't been a lot going on. Congress and President Obama had a health care summit. Republicans continued issuing their talking points instead of offering solutions and then complained loudly when they were called on it. One of the best moments occurred when John McCain appeared ready to get into a verbal spar with the President. Obama agreed with McCain's position and he was just left sputtering at the fact that he was not going to get to throw another talking point out.
Republicans continue saying that the whole thing needs to be scrapped and Congress needs to start over. They really need this to happen as then they actually have something to convince their constituents that Democrats have done nothing. The very few ideas that they have presented really do nothing but put one over the middle class and poor while continuing to protect the rich. One idea they are running with now is setting up basically what would be a health insurance savings system where people take a portion of their check and put it into the savings. They claim that this will cut insurance costs but again all it will really do is protect the insurance companies and people that can afford it. Those that can not afford are of no real concern to the Republicans.
All of this is mute because at this point even if Congress were able to get a bipartisan bill up for a vote Republicans would vote no across the board. They have already shown in 2009 and in 2010 that they will vote down their own principles in order to score political points. They think no one is paying attention but to steal a line from some conservatives a month after Obama took his oath of office, the American people are starting to wake up from their fog.
Scott Brown, who was heralded as the far right conservatives knight in shining arming almost immediately showed that he was no their puppet when he joined a group of Republicans in busting a filibuster and allowing a vote on a jobs bill and then voting for the bill. To this point, early on in his career, he is proving to stay right on his campaign promise of being bipartisan but it has irked quite a few tea partiers who have gone as far as calling him a traitor for daring to vote with a Democrat. The honeymoon lasted less than a month. His career should be an interesting one, to be sure.
Jim Bunning (R-KY) who is retiring showed either just out of touch he is with the rest of America or just how much he doesn't care filibustered a bill that would have extended unemployment benefits and (YES) health care benefits for millions of Americans being affected by the recession. The bill will undoubtedly be passed but to actually filibuster a bill that helps Americans over money just goes to show that the only things that some Republicans care about is their bottom line and how they appear to the base of the party. There was no real reason to filibuster this particular bill other than for political reasons.
In his SOTU address, President Obama called for the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Almost immediately Congressional Republicans started decrying that decision as wrong headed and not the right time. Now, this is the same group that will whine at the drop of a hat that the President is tunnel visioned on health care but the moment he talks about something that is not about health care they ... whine some more. Republicans, remember, are the ones that shout loudly anytime anyone questions commanders on the field that we have to listen to them because they know what is actually going on. So did they change their tone when commanders in the field actually came out in support of repealing DADT? Nope, they completely ignored them. Right now, it seems, that the only people that are not supporting the repeal are a bunch of people that have never served in the military. The one former military person that came out against the repeal is John McCain who declared that DADT is working. Really? So that's why one of our best arab translators was drummed out of the military? Because DADT is working? I say if gays and lesbians want to serve in the military and protect our rights who are we to tell them they can not?
Republicans and the "liberal" media continue to proclaim that the stimulus did not work even though all the evidence and all the experts agree that it has worked. Where the evidence and the experts say that the stimulus has not worked is that the Act was too small. Remember when this passed Democrats could only get so much in making deals with Republicans to get their ideas in (including a tax cut) to the bill only to have the Republicans turn right around and vote against the bill anyways. Those who are claiming that the stimulus has not worked do not actually give any evidence that the stimulus has not worked only talking about how it has driven up the deficit. The reason they do this is because they know that most of the Republicans that voted against it and claim that is has not worked in Washington then turn around, go to their home districts, and then declare that the stimulus has worked and take credit for it.
To close out February a 8.8 earthquake hit off the coast of Chile and reminded just about everyone that we really have no control in what happens in our world. To this point, even with the huge loss of life, it looks like Chile is going to weather this relatively fine. This earthquake has been said to be over 500 times stronger than the earthquake that hit Haiti but a large reason why it seems like the infrastructure in Chile is going to survive is because they were prepared. Chile is one of the most active areas in the world for earthquakes. The country even holds the record for strongest earthquake measuring a 9.5. So, the country has some of the strictest building codes in the world and it appears to this point to be successful.
Another thing that came out of this was the Tsunami that was triggered. It ended up not being disastrous (thankfully) only hitting Hawaii with at the highest 5 foot waves. It was mesmerizing watching the water actually recede as the tsunami came in. Hawaii seems to have their warning system in perfect running order giving people plenty of time to evacuate low lying land. The most perplexing thing about the whole ordeal was the people that ignored the warnings and actually went to beaches or even surfed in areas where the tsunami was supposed to hit. I just could not have allowed myself to feel anything for these people if the tsunami had been bad and they had drowned because they wanted to watch. They say it's survival of the fittest but as long as we have people who see danger and want to go see it it will be more like survival of the common sense.
The biggest hypocritical lie of the month goes to Congressional republicans who have convinced Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and their base that the nuclear option and reconciliation are the exact same thing. They're not but natural that hasn't stopped them. Their other lie in the same vain is that the only time reconciliation has ever been used was on the budget. Indeed, that was the original intent of reconciliation but the Byrd Rule essentially opened reconciliation up to all bills and Republicans have been happy to use it. Of the 22 times Reconciliation has been used Republicans have used it 19 times and mostly not on budget bills. But that has not stopped them from whining and complaining that now Democrats are using Republicans own use of reconciliation against them.