Category Archives: Sen. Lamar Alexander

Tennessee Republicrites Visit Spring Hill

File this one under “taking credit where it’s not due”: Senators Bob Corker, Lamar Alexander and Congressman Marsha Blackburn all went to Spring Hill today Friday to take credit for what the Democrats did:

The irony of the Republican lawmakers’ presence wasn’t lost on the workers who attended the ceremony; they booed Tennessee Republican Bob Corker, and one UAW official made clear from the stage that the union still remembered which politicians had voted to rescue Wall Street but opposed an auto industry bailout.

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker
Then: “This administration has decided they know better than our courts and our free market process how to deal with these companies….This is a major power grab.” – March 30, 2009.

Now: “At the end of the day we all have to feel good about what we did,” said Corker, who did attempt to negotiate the failed 2008 aid package. “I contributed to strengthening the auto industry in this country.”

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander
Then: “This is not the right direction: taxpayer money down the drain, and Washington politicians trying to run auto companies. The sooner the politicians get out of the way, the sooner auto jobs and taxpayer dollars will be secure.” – March 30, 2009.

Now: “The center of the auto industry is still moving to Tennessee and the mid-South,” Alexander told WSMV-TV.

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn
Then: “I certainly can’t think of the last time the federal government stepping into an industry caused that industry to be more successful, or more efficient. ” – December 2008.

Now: Blackburn attended, but no quotes from her have been reported. She has been busy with other issues, including a bill to overturn the upcoming ban on incandescent light bulbs.

Bob Corker, of course, voted yes on the bank bailout, no on the auto bailout. Lamar Alexander voted yes on the bank bailout, and missed the auto bailout vote because of surgery, but said he would have voted no. Corker tried to negotiate an alternate auto deal because, as he said at the time, the Big Three Bailout wouldn’t help the industry one bit:

“I mean you couldn’t make it almost more ineffective and more complicated,” said Corker about the White House plan.

Oops. Looks like you were way wrong on that one, buckaroo! And look who shows up expecting chocolates and roses when GM is back in the black and rehiring laid-off workers one year later?

File this one under assholes.

(h/t, ThinkProgress.)

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Filed under auto bailout, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee

>One Thing We Liberals Could Do Better

>Liberals are always asking how can we make our voices heard, why aren’t we out rallying in the streets like, say, the Tea Partiers (lack of major corporate money and backing by a major cable news network are to blame there, IMHO), why don’t Democrats in Congress pander to their base the way Republicans do, etc. etc.

There’s obvious disagreement over how we can best utilize our time and organizing skills (and many folks disagreed with me when I said this was not helpful.)

One thing we could definitely do better is engage our elected representatives when they are back home during things like the August recess. We could fill up the town hall meetings with liberals and challenge people like Lamar Alexander when they spout obvious bullshit like this:

“Finally, part of the way this bill is paid for is through almost $10 billion of permanent tax increases on multinational corporations that would have the effect of driving jobs overseas. Just one more action by the Democratic majority and this administration in the middle of a recession, at a time of near 10 percent unemployment for the nation, that makes it harder to create new jobs in the United States.”

Well look who finally woke up and realized jobs are going overseas! Where ya been, buckaroo? Jobs have been going overseas for years. During the entire time you’ve been in the U.S. Senate. All of your sucking up to corporations hasn’t stemmed the tide of greedy, cheap-labor loving corporations and all of your votes for NAFTA and CAFTA and every other free trade legislation has only sped up the exodus. Thanks for playing.

Corporate tax rates are the lowest in U.S. history. Meanwhile Republicans already nixed a bill that would aid sick 9/11 emergency responders because it was paid for by closing a corporate tax loophole that allows U.S. corporations to operate offshore, tax-free.

Umm … Senator, I think keeping crap like that and all of the other corporate tax loopholes on the books does more to ship jobs overseas than keeping teachers employed so the American workforce is educated. Just sayin’.

We’re losing ground to the rest of the world, fast. Today MoveOn is holding rallies across the country to protest corporate influence in our government. Yes, there’s a rally planned for Nashville.

But I’ve also heard (though I have found nothing confirming this) that there is going to be a town hall meeting where Senator Alexander will address the teacher aid bill. I don’t know where it is or when it is. Maybe it doesn’t exist. Anyone else hear this? Regardless, I’d rather MoveOn send people to an event like this (if it is indeed happening, or another event of its kind) than gathering on a street corner for yet another rally that will once again be ignored by the media. Again, just sayin’.

Anyway, we need to find a better way to present our issues.

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Filed under corporations, MoveOn, Sen. Lamar Alexander

>Oil Spills Rarely Happen & Other Fairy Tales

>I can no longer remember the name of the first wingnut Republican to claim oil spills are rare, for some reason I’m thinking David Vitter of Louisiana or perhaps Haley Barbour of Mississippi but regardless we’ve heard it from several folks by now. And I have to say, it’s one of the stupidest right wing talking points to come out of the collective Republican gob since Saddam’s mythic WMD’s. I mean yeah, if oil spills are so rare, then why do oil companies make chemical dispersants by the truckload?

Anyway, today we learn of yet another oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:

A second leak, discovered at the Ocean Saratoga rig, is leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Initial reports claim the the volume of crude oil being released is much less than that of the Deepwater Horizon, but a 10 mile long oil slick has been detected by satellite. The site is visible in satellite images gathered by Skytruth.org, which first reported the leak on its website May 15.

The Ocean Saratoga site, owned by Taylor Energy, is located approximately ten miles off the coast of southern Louisiana. Official figures released report only 14 gallons of oil per day being emitted into the Gulf of Mexico to account for the massive oil slick.

Reports admit that small amounts have been leaking daily since Hurricane Ivan hit in 2004 causing an undersea mudslide that destroyed the rig. Taylor Energy says they have been working since that time to stop the leak.

I’m sorry, there’s been a leaking oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico for six years? WTF?

Meanwhile out West in Utah, Chevron’s weekend oil spill looks to be another environmental disaster:

SALT LAKE CITY — Emergency workers believe they have stopped a 21,000-gallon oil leak from reaching the environmentally sensitive Great Salt Lake, one of the West’s most important inland water bodies for migratory birds that use it as a place to rest, eat and breed.

But the spill has taken a toll on wildlife at area creeks and ponds, coating about 300 birds with oil and possibly threatening an endangered fish.

Lovely. This reminds me of how after the Kingston coal sludge disaster, we started hearing about all those other leaky coal ash ponds.

Another story which hasn’t received much national attention is the Pennsylvania natural gas well which blew last week, courtesy of the former Enron Corp. That spewed 35,000 gallons of toxic chemicals into the air after a blowout preventer failed. Here’s the best part:

Though the industry says blowouts are rare, another natural gas well, in West Virginia, blew up on Monday, burning seven workers.

Well, if “the industry” says it, it must be true! Just don’t pay attention to that other eco-disaster happening in another part of the country. Look, shiny-sparkly Lindsay Lohan thingie over there!

Folks, we’re doing it wrong. We’re fouling our nest. Fossil fuels are a dirty, nasty business. Pipelines and oil rigs leak. Tankers leak. Oil spills happen all the time, and when we aren’t polluting our food supply pulling this stuff out of the ground or transporting it, we’re polluting our air and water when we actually use the stuff.

And speaking of stupidity coming from Republican gobs, the best one yet came from my own Senator Lamar Alexander, writing in the Wall Street Journal on Friday. Lamar has continued to perpetuate the myth that nuclear energy is somehow safe and clean and even affordable. Right after dissing wind energy because “windmills generate electricity—not transportation fuel” he writes:

If we need more green electricity, build nuclear plants. The 100 commercial nuclear plants we already have produce 70% of our pollution-free, carbon-free electricity. Yet the U.S. has just broken ground on our first new reactor in 30 years, while China starts one every three months and France is 80% nuclear. We wouldn’t mothball our nuclear Navy if we were going to war. We shouldn’t mothball our nuclear plants if we want low-cost, reliable green energy.

Without even getting into how environmentally damaging mining uranium fuel is (I talked about it last year), let me remind Lamar Alexander of one very simple fact: what we are dealing with in Kington, TN, the Gulf of Mexico, Utah, Pennsylvania and hundreds of other places I haven’t even mentioned is a failure of our technology. Accidents happen. Blowout preventers fail. Coal sludge ponds fail. Pipelines break. Anything made by human hands can and most assuredly will fail.

Imagine if any of the accidents I mentioned in this post had been radioactive? Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. You can count on it. You can take that piece of wisdom to the bank. You want to do that with radioactive fuel? Spent nuclear waste? A nuclear reactor? You, sir, are an idiot.

But fine, you want your nukes? Sure, as soon as you repeal the Price Anderson Act which places a liability cap on nuclear power accidents. If there’s another Chernobyl or Three Mile Island, then by God let the utility responsible pay for it, not the taxpayers. Just as everyone is crying for BP to clean up the oil spill, let’s make sure we don’t socialize the losses of a nuclear accident. I’m sure as a fiscal conservative you would support that, right?

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Filed under Gulf oil spill, nuclear energy, Sen. Lamar Alexander

>Oh Great Diviner Pat Robertson, What Is God Trying To Tell Us Now?

>First we had a coal sludge pond disaster in Tennessee, then we had a coal mining disaster in West Virginia, followed by an oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and now we have a fucking nuclear power plant leak. For reals, y’all:

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Radioactive water that leaked from the nation’s oldest nuclear power plant has now reached a major underground aquifer that supplies drinking water to much of southern New Jersey, the state’s environmental chief said Friday.

The state Department of Environmental Protection has ordered the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station to halt the spread of contaminated water underground, even as it said there was no imminent threat to drinking water supplies.

The department launched a new investigation Friday into the April 2009 spill and said the actions of plant owner Exelon Corp. have not been sufficient to contain water contaminated with tritium.

Tritium is found naturally in tiny amounts and is a product of nuclear fission. It has been linked to cancer if ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin in large amounts.

Yeeeearrrgh, as if the real housewives of New Jersey aren’t toxic enough. I’m sure the snooze media will ignore this story because they haven’t thoroughly flogged to death the other two stories they are covering this week. But let me just say: Holy crap.

Plus, there was this accident last year and it’s already contaminated the water table?

Quick, let’s Google “Solar Power Accident” and see what we get.

I’ll wait.

Oh, and Lamar Alexander? You still think 100 of these contamination factories is a good idea? ‘Cause I’m thinking, not just No but HELL NO.

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Filed under environment, nuclear energy, Sen. Lamar Alexander

>Don’t Hate The Player, Hate The Game

>Well okay, hate the player. Massey Energy and Don Blankenship are certainly deserving of our scorn. But while our hearts go out to the families of the West Virginia coal miners who lost their lives, and our anger is turned on Massey Energy, which appears to have bought every politician which has stood in its way, we all need to look in the mirror, too.

Coal produces 54% of our electricity in this country. Every time you flip a light switch or crank up the air conditioning or purchase another appliance, think about where we get the juice to power that equipment. Think about what you are doing to keep the Massey Energies of this country in business.

Look, folks: coal ain’t cheap, regardless of what TVA’s Tom Kilgore and the folks at Big Coal would have you believe. It just looks cheap because when they’re crunching the numbers, they only count part of the cost. They don’t factor in the cost of cleaning up all those leaky coal sludge ponds, and the environmental and health costs associated not just with coal burning but also things like mountaintop removal mining.

(And while we’re talking about this, good for Senator Lamar Alexander, who last year introduced a bill that would basically ban mountaintop removal mining. This is so huge and significant and Lamar deserves a flood of phone calls thanking him for taking this step. And every other senator needs a phone call asking them to support the Cardin-Alexander Appalachian Restoration Act.)

However, it’s not enough. We need to do more, and we need to do it faster. West Virginia, Kentucky and other Appalachian states need to transition their economies away from the coal mines which have forced people to choose between poverty and poison. And some choice that’s been: these states are still among the country’s poorest. People need jobs but they shouldn’t have to choose between poisoning their communities and risking their lives just to put food on the table.

Hate the player all you want, folks. But the problem is the game.

There are things we all can do to cut our coal consumption. At the Beale household we swapped out leaky old windows. When we remodeled our house we purchased energy-miser appliances. I close our blinds in the summer to keep the sun out, which does an amazing job of keeping the house cool. We changed our light bulbs to CFL’s. We signed up for TVA’s Green Power Switch program. And lastly, we put up a solar array on our roof, so NES actually pays me. I am sure we still use some coal, but not as much as we used to.

If you need some ideas on simple things that can save you lots of money in utility bills, as well as the true cost of coal, check out the film “Kilowatt Ours.”

We aren’t perfect at the Beale household. Our house is old and there are energy leaks all over the place, especially around old door frames. We use way more electricity than we should. But it’s a start.

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Filed under clean coal, energy conservation, energy production, Sen. Lamar Alexander

>At Long Last Bipartisanship?

>While our illustrious news media wallows in the glow of bipartisanship they say passage of the Senate jobs bill represents, I counter it highlights how bad partisan gridlock in Washington truly is.

First, from the Los Angeles Times:

More notable, perhaps, than the bill itself was the fact that 13 Republicans crossed party lines to vote for it. The $15-billion bill passed by a 70-28 tally.

The bill would grant employers a “holiday” on their 6.2% Social Security payroll contribution for every new employee hired through the rest of the year, as long as that employee has been out of work for at least 60 days. It would also make it easier for businesses to write off equipment purchases and would extend federal highway and mass-transit funding programs.

This is a tax cut bill. Since when are we doing double back-flips over the fact that 13 Republicans voted for tax cuts?

Hey, Republicans: I thought you people hated taxes! That’s all we ever hear every time you folks open your mouths: “tax cuts tax cuts tax cuts.” Okay, the Democrats gave you your damn tax cuts. And only 13 of you voted for it? What the hell is wrong with you?

Even worse:

Eight Republicans who Monday didn’t support a procedural motion to proceed with the jobs bill switched sides Wednesday to support it, including Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) Thad Cochran (Miss.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). Hatch was a co-author, along with Schumer, of the payroll tax provision in the bill.

Yes that’s right, our own Sen. Lamar Alexander ended up voting for a bill he tried to block two days ago. Holy flip-flop!

And our grand wanker of the day prize goes to Orrin Hatch, a co-author of the bill, who tried to filibuster it on Monday, then voted for it on Wednesday. Yes that’s right, Orrin Hatch tried to filibuster his own tax cuts which he ended up voting for anyway.

This is the glorious “bipartisanship” we’re celebrating?

Feh.

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Filed under bipartisanship, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Sen. Orrin Hatch

>Dear Lamar: Thank You For Playing!

>ThinkProgress pokes some fun at Sean Hannity, Lamar Alexander and the whole “enemies list” meme. Watch it:

ThinkProgress concludes, noting:

The irony is rich, of course. In attempting to debunk Anita Dunn’s argument about Fox News, Sean Hannity has instead validated it — proving just how effective Fox News can serve as the “communications arm of the Republican Party.”

Thanks for playing along!

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Filed under FOX NEWS, sean hannity, Sen. Lamar Alexander

>Lamar Alexander Listing To The Right

>[UPDATE]: Pith has video of Lamar’s floor rant.

——————————–

What is it with Tennessee Senators making bizarro comparisons? Yesterday Sen. Corker compared the American Medical Assn. to a prostitute.

Today Sen. Alexander compares President Obama to Richard Nixon:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top Republican invoked the memory of the scandal-marred Nixon administration on Wednesday to urge U.S. President Barack Obama to “back up” and not “start an enemies list.”

Senator Lamar Alexander told Reuters he has begun to see the Obama White House adopting an attitude similar to that of the Richard Nixon White House four decades ago, that “everybody is against us and we are going to get them.”

Gee, you don’t say. Excuse me, but you kept your yap shut when the Bush Administration created its own de facto enemies list by politicizing the Dept. of Justice, outting a CIA agent because her husband called bullshit on pre-war lies about Saddam Hussein, and even engaged in its own long-running feud with the New York Times. Don’t recall you clutching your pearls about an “us vs. them” attitude back then, Senator.

Of course, he’s just reciting a Karl Rove talking point from three days ago. Which makes so much sense. The “enemies list” is one of those silly political mudballs one side throws at the other when they’ve got nothing better handy. It conjures up negative historical connotations (Nixon! Hoover! McCarthy! Bad!), negative social connotations (they must be paranoid! And a narcissist!) and emotional fears (A list! That means conspiracy!). It’s also a great distraction from more pressing business–in this case like, oh, how the Republican Party is bleeding voters at the seams.

During the last presidential campaign the Clintons supposedly had one. So did, incidentally, the Obama campaign. Everyone from Michael Moore to Markos Moulitsas supposedly made George W. Bush’s list. Bill O’Reilly said his was real, and he threatened to post it on the internet.

There’s more:

Alexander made the comments at the Reuters Washington Summit, a series of interviews with key Washington figures, in advance of a speech that he plans to give later in the day on the same topic on the Senate floor.

Seriously? You’re going to devote a floor speech to a point Karl Rove made on Fox News Sunday?

All in defense of Fox News?

You know, not too long ago when the Republican base was frothy-mouthed about birth certificates and death panels and tea party “patriots” hung Democratic Congressmen in effigy, a few of us went to Sen. Alexander’s office in Nashville and asked why he was remaining silent. As a member of the Republican leadership, an elder statesman of the Republican Party, we viewed him as someone with the gravitas needed to influence his colleagues and urge everyone to dial back the rhetoric.

But now we know why he kept silent. He has no interest in being the measured voice of reason. That’s not how he rolls these days. He’s cast his lot with the wackadoodle wing of the Republican Party, proving his conservative bonafides by spreading nonsense about an “enemies list” right alongside Karl Rove.

Nice work, Senator.

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Filed under FOX NEWS, President Barack Obama, Sen. Lamar Alexander

>Visit To Lamar’s Office

>Nice little lunchtime demonstration in front of Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office today. I counted about 25 people there, four of them (not surprisingly) from my church. I think the progressive faith community gets a bum rap by a lot of folks on the left because when they show up at events like this they aren’t carrying crosses and wearing clerical robes.

Reaction at this busy intersection was mostly positive. There were quite a few horn honks and thumbs up, a couple of thumbs down, but not as many as I had expected. One person, predictably, shouted “get a job!” There’s always one asshole who has to remind us of the country’s unemployment rate. I’m not being sarcastic here, either: I have yet to attend a rally or visibility event where there wasn’t one person shouting “get a job!” Probably the same guy, too.

The check was delivered to Sen. Alexander’s office after the demonstration was over.

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Filed under healthcare, Nashville protest, Sen. Lamar Alexander

>Lamar Alexander: Wanker Of the Day

>Sen. Lamar Alexander thinks “it’s dangerous” for the government to write laws dealing with end of life issues.

Reports WPLN’s Nina Cardona:

Tennessee Republican Lamar Alexander says it’s dangerous to write laws dealing with end of life decisions.

Oh that’s great. I am so glad to know Sen. Alexander has come out against the death penalty.

Wait, that’s not what he said?

Hmmm. Okay, at least let me look up all of his vocal opposition to the famous “Palm Sunday Compromise” orchestrated by fellow Tennessee Senator Bill Frist that interefered in the Terri Schiavo end of life issue.

Wow, can’t seem to find any of those, either.

Okay, let’s look at what he actually said:

“Almost every doctor I know has these sort of discussions with families and with patients as part of an ongoing relationship. For the government to get involved in this at all is risky business and fraught with misunderstanding and a bad idea.”

Let’s be clear on what you are opposing, Senator Alexander. You are opposing Medicare reimbursement of doctors for these discussions.

In other words, you are objecting to Medicare payment of a component of the doctor-patient relationship you admit is quite commonplace, something which “almost every doctor” you know does with their patients.

You are in essence saying that something which is so common that “almost every doctor” you know does it should either be free, or patients should pay for it out of their own pocket.

You, Sen. Alexander, are an asshole.

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Filed under healthcare, Sen. Lamar Alexander