Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Wacko Middle-Class-Hating Extremist Rep. Jeff Flake Votes No as House Supports National Financial Literacy Month, 402-2
I know I'm running against him, but I'm really beginning to worry a little about Rep. Jeff Flake's mental health.
It's almost a given that when I check House roll call votes and there are just two or three members of Congress voting against a bill everyone else from conservative Republicans to liberal Democrats supports that I find one of the teeny-weeny minority of wackos voting no on noncontroversial legislation is out-of-control Jeff Flake.
What is he trying to prove? Is this just a desperate cry for attention?
Last week he was the only one in the entire House of Representatives to vote against a totally innocuous bill encouraging government documents be written in plain English.
Today we find he's against financial literacy too.
This morning the House passed a resolution "supporting the goals and ideals of Financial Literacy Month 2008." The vote was 402-2.
Out-of-step Jeff Flake voted no. Why?
Is he against 6,500 bankers teaching savings skills to young people during Teach Children to Save Day, started by the American Bankers Association Education Foundation in April of 1997? Is he annoyed that this program has helped more than 45,000 bankers teach savings skills to nearly 2,300,000 young people?
Is he against staff from America's credit unions making presentations to young people at local schools on financial topics such as student loans, balancing a checkbook, and auto loans during National Credit Union Youth Week?
Is he happy that the average baby boomer has only $50,000 in savings apart from equity in their homes?
Is he totally unconcerned that the April 2007 National Foundation for Credit Counseling consumer financial literacy survey found that only 39 percent of American consumers keep close track of their expenses; less than half have ordered their credit report; and one-third do not know where to go for financial advice?
Is he glad that as many as 10,000,000 households in the United States are "unbanked" or are without access to mainstream financial products and services?
What did out-of-touch Jeff Flake find so objectionable about a simple resolution supporting consumer education?
Or does he just hate regular middle-class families so much that he enjoys the equivalent of spitting in their faces every time he casts a vote?
Out-of-step, out-of-touch, out-of-control Rep. Jeff Flake seems determined to prove he is wrong for America every time he steps onto the House floor.
How much longer will you let him get away with it?
Posted by Richard at 9:51 AM
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Extremist Laissez-Faire Flunky Rep. Jeff Flake Flunks Math & Science; Unlike Most Republicans, He Votes Against the 21st Century Competitiveness Act
It's hard to understand why Rep. Jeff Flake's votes are so consistently out of the mainstream of his own party. He's so wedded to the dogma that government can do nothing that he's made being a do-nothing congressman his life's work.
Take for example, the issue of education, one that's critical to America's competitiveness in the world.
Just a few days ago Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas expressed the views of most Republicans and certainly most Democrats and independents in an article called "Keep America Competitive" that she wrote for The Austin American-Statesman:
There is a growing consensus that America's future prosperity is threatened by an erosion in our educational capabilities. Compared with children in other countries, our nation's students are underperforming in the vitally important fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). These areas of expertise spur creativity and new technologies, which are essential for economic growth. In fact, as much as 85 percent of the measured growth in per capita income is due to technological advancement. . .
Our neglect has led to China surpassing the United States as the world's largest exporter of information-technology products. We must redouble our efforts to ensure that America is the world's technological leader in the 21st century...Many economists predict that, in 10 years, London will supplant New York as the world's financial capital. . .
[We must] build upon the highly successful America Competes Act, which Congress passed last year. This legislation expands research by 2001 by doubling funding levels for the National Science Foundation to $11.2 billion and substantially increases funding for the Energy Department's Office of Science by 144 percent to more than $5.2 billion.
Second, the act also strengthens the skills of teachers in science, technology, engineering and math. According to the Center for the Study of Teaching, the most consistent predictor of student achievement in STEM is the presence of teachers who are fully certified and have at least a bachelor's degree in the subject they teach. That's why we're funding Teachers for a Competitive Tomorrow, a grant program modeled after the UTeach Program at the University of Texas that encourages undergraduate students to gain degrees in their STEM fields of study with teacher certification obtained through required electives. In addition, the legislation increases the number of Advanced Placement courses in underprivileged schools and the supply of teachers who are able to teach those courses.
Altogether, the America Competes Act is a major step forward in meeting the economic challenges of the future. Congress must advance legislation that strengthens our long-term prosperity.
Last August the House passed the America Competes Act, with 143 Republicans joining all but one Democrat in favor of strengthening American competitiveness.
Out-of-step, wrong-for-America Rep. Jeff Flake voted against this bill even though most of his party joined Democrats in support of this groundbreaking legislation aimed at ensuring the United States’ strong footing as a global economic leader and retaining our “brainpower advantage.”
President Bush proudly signed the bill after passage.
What's wrong with Jeff Flake that he doesn't want to help America retain its competitiveness in a global economy where high-level math, science and technology skills are needed?
Why does Jeff Flake always put his rigid extremist ideology first and America last?
And why does this do-nothing, uncaring, wrong-for-America ideologue who does nothing to protect our kids' future keep getting re-elected?
Maybe it's because he hasn't had a serious opponent since gas was $1.29 a gallon.
Posted by Richard at 7:40 AM
Sunday, April 27, 2008
US Senate Unanimous Against Genetic Discrimination; House Agrees, 420-3, with Uncaring, Elitist, Wrong-for-America Wacko Rep. Jeff Flake Voting "No"
Great news! On Friday, the U.S. Senate passed S.358, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2007 (GINA), by a unanimous vote. The bill would ban the use of genetic testing for the purposes of making health insurance and employment decisions.
If it becomes law, people learning through genetic testing that they might be susceptible to devastating diseases wouldn't also have to worry about losing their jobs or their health insurance.
The bill, described by Sen. Edward Kennedy as "the first major new civil rights bill of the new century," would bar health insurance companies from using genetic information to set premiums or determine enrollment eligibility. Similarly, employers could not use genetic information in hiring, firing or promotion decisions.
A year ago a similar bill, H.R. 493, backed by the White House,already passed the House in a lopsided 420-3 vote. Guess who was one of three congressmen who voted in favor of genetic discrimination.
That's right: the extremist representative from the Sixth Congressional District of Arizona, out-of-touch, out-of-step Jeff Flake.
Now the House needs to vote again on this issue, possibly as early as this week.
Will wrong-for-America, wrong-for-Arizona uncaring elitist Rep. Jeff Flake once again prove to be the oddball who votes for genetic discrimination?
House staffers have reportedly heard Rep. Flake muttering, "If their genes don't fit, let's treat them like shit," so we can make an educated guess...
Posted by Richard at 6:17 PM
Friday, April 25, 2008
Another Bill to Help the Middle Class that Rigid Ideologue Rep. Jeff Flake Opposes: Making College Textbooks More Affordable
I've been teaching undergraduate classes since 1975 in a variety of settings: state universities like ASU and SUNY and Florida International; community colleges in Mesa, north and south Florida and New York City; a Catholic university and a Jewish college; an art school; technical institutes; private universities large and small. I've also been a faculty member and administrator at two law schools.
There have been numerous changes in higher education since I started teaching a generation ago but two of the biggest have placed great financial burdens on students and their families: the incredible rise in the cost of tuition -- and the outrageous inflation in textbook prices.
As today's New York Times editorial, "That Book Costs How Much?" notes,
College students and their families are rightfully outraged about the bankrupting costs of textbooks that have nearly tripled since the 1980s, mainly because of marginally useful CD-ROMs and other supplements. A bill pending in Congress would require publishers to sell “unbundled” versions of the books — minus the pricey add-ons. Even more important, it would require publishers to reveal book prices in marketing material so that professors could choose less-expensive titles.
That bill is H.R. 3512, the College Textbook Affordability and Transparency Act, introduced last year by the late Rep. Julia Carson (D-IN).
"Students are suffering from sticker shock after going through their colleges' bookstores," Rep. Carson said last year, just a few months before her death from cancer. "This bill addresses many of the concerns we have heard related to this issue, and it assures transparency in textbook pricing. It seeks to bring the market's stakeholders together for the benefit of students."
Rep. Carson's co-sponsors -- Reps. David Wu (D-OR), Steve Kagen (D-WI), Robert Scott (D-VA) and Darlene Hooley (D-OR) -- want this bill to pass not only to help students and their families but as a tribute to a congresswoman who, even as she was dying, cared about middle-class and working-class Americans enough to devote her final days in Congress to this needed legislation.
The contrast with uncaring Rep. Jeff Flake, who opposes this bill because it offends his extremist laissez-faire ideological principles, could not be more stark.
Jeff Flake knows this bill will reduce expenses at least a little for the families of college students. But he doesn't care, because it regulates business.
And in Jeff Flake's hard-hearted view, it's more important that even money-grubbing multinational corporations be unfettered than that families of students at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and Arizona State University and Central Arizona College and Mesa Community College and all over the U.S. save a dime.
Okay, this bill will not solve all the problems of textbook inflation. The Times editorial rightly suggests that colleges make more use of cheaper digital textbooks, which I do when I can; ASU Geography Prof. Ronald Dorn did a study that suggests that students using free online textbooks do just as well in their classes as students with expensive copies from traditional publishers.
But H.R. 3512, endorsed by the American Association of University Professors, is a good start in helping cash-strapped students and their families get relief from exorbitant textbook prices.
As Paradise Valley Community College nursing student Khoi Le told the PVCC Puma Press, high textbook prices cause students to lose study time because they have to work extra hours in order to pay for their textbooks.
Unfortunately, Rep. Jeff Flake will do everything he can to prevent this bill from becoming law.
You don't need an expensive textbook to teach Jeff Flake a lesson this November.
Posted by Richard at 1:28 PM
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Yesterday the House voted overwhelmingly to help small businesses by amending the Small Business Act to improve the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, and for other purposes.
The vote was 368-43, with 149 Republicans voting in favor of giving a helping hand to the little people who run our nation's small businesses.
Rep. Jeff Flake, of course, laissez-faire extremist that he is, violently opposed the bill.
Jeff Flake wants to make sure the government doesn't spend a single penny to help the little guy innovate.
Why should he care? Supposedly guaranteed re-election, Jeff Flake gets the million dollars in his bulging campaign treasury from the richest fat cats and corporations in the country.
Jeff Flake doesn't need help from little guys and he's determined to see that little guys get no help from any government that he's a part of.
Why doesn't his congressional office just put out a press release headlined "Rep. Jeff Flake to Middle Class: Drop Dead"?
Maybe I shouldn't have given the Maker's Mark-drinking, cigar-smoking, smirking right-wing fanatics on Jeff Flake's staff the idea...
Small business owners, make no mistake: Jeff Flake is your enemy. He's proved that time and again with his votes.
Now what will you do with your vote in November?
Posted by Richard at 7:25 PM
Nutty Out-of-Step Rep. Jeff Flake Has a Tantrum as House GOP, Dems Join to Pass Coast Guard Reauthorization Act, 395-7
Once again Arizona's nutty out-of-step Rep. Jeff Flake has decided to throw a tantrum and be one of only seven (7!) weirdo House members to vote against a bill overwhelmingly supported by all Democrats and 96% of Republicans.
Today the House overwhelmingly approved Coast Guard Authorization for 2008. The vote was 395-7.
My uncle Matt was in the Coast Guard and I spent a bunch of summers as a kid sleeping on his Coast Guard hammock. The Coast Guard has consistently gotten the short end of the stick in funding.
What could weirdo Jeff Flake object to in a bill funding the Coast Guard that nearly every one of his conservative Republican colleagues voted in favor of?
Jeff Flake likes to show off that he can vote no just for the sake of voting no. It's childish and part of what makes him such an ineffective Congressman.
Or maybe he just hates the Coast Guard and feels free to express his disdain because thinks he can coast to re-election anyway.
Our district needs to change course and throw Jeff Flake overboard.
Posted by Richard at 3:03 PM
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
House Republicans & Democrats Vote to Protect New Wilderness Areas in the Monongahela National Forest, 368-17, But Anti-Green Rep. Jeff Flake Votes No
Yesterday 161 House Republicans joined all Democrats voting to pass the Wild Monongahela Act: A National Legacy for West Virginia’s Special Places.
Rep. Jeff Flake, the reddest opposite of green there is, of course voted no. Maybe he hates nature? Hikers? Trees? Creeks?
The Wild Monongahela Act will protect over 47,000 acres of forest as wilderness – existing wilderness Areas as well as protecting 4 new wilderness areas across the forest.
Allen Johnson, founder of Christians for the Mountains, emphasized the religious values of wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest, saying
My organization not only supports wilderness, but has been working for the past year to convey to other faith based organizations and congregations the spiritual value these places hold. Protecting Wilderness, however, is more than about what it can do for humans. Wilderness is space for God's untrammeled creation. Wilderness is a reminder that ‘The Earth is the Lord's, and everything in it belongs to God’ (Psalm 24: I). Wilderness is an ecological yardstick to measure our ability to use the rest of the earth well.
As noted on the Wilderness Society website, wilderness areas are also critical in protecting our native trout streams. “Wilderness is the watershed management most conducive to healing and recovery of trout streams.” stated Don Gasper, retired DNR fisheries biologist and long-time fisheries manager on the Monongahela National Forest. In a poll conducted on wilderness in West Virginia in 2006, 90% of respondents who identified themselves as hunters or anglers supported wilderness for the Seneca Creek area which has been rated as one of America’s top 100 trout streams.
Over 100 West Virginia businesses supported this legislation for more wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest. Nearly all GOP House members joined them. But not Jeff Flake.
Exactly 38 years ago I was at the first Earth Day celebration on April 22, 1970 and wrote about it here.
Like any Democrat -- like almost all Republicans -- I would have voted to protect West Virginia's wilderness in the House yesterday.
Jeff Flake is an ineffective publicity hound whose contrary-for-the-sake-of-controversy view makes him a terrible Congressman.
For the sake of Arizona's Sixth Congressional District, for the sake of our children and our planet, Jeff Flake must be replaced by a Democrat.
Posted by Richard at 2:45 AM
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Huffington Post Quotes Democratic Congressional Candidate Grayson on Jeff Flake: "He gets some good media...but he never accomplishes anything."
No, it's not this Democratic congressional candidate. On the Huffington Post today, Howie Klein wrote a post about whether our candidates should pledge that we're not taking the national health care plan afforded members of Congress until we pass a plan that's available for the public.
He quotes the very capable and exciting candidate in FL-08, Alan Grayson of Orlando:
It's a very interesting question. I think that the problem goes a lot deeper than that. The problem is not only that Congressmen have a good health care plan, but that they are paid over $170,000 a year, with plenty of other perks beyond that. And the problem is not only that Congressmen are treated that way, but also TV news anchors, newspaper editors, judges, generals, and bosses of all kinds. All of these people act in concert to protect their privileges.
In my experience, no group of people ever acts to reduce their own privileges. It's far more likely that you will see corporations adopt "green" environmental policies than you will see corporate executives give up their private jets. It's far more likely that you'll see baseball players submit to weekly drug testing than a salary cap. And it's far more likely that you'll see national health care than you'll see any cut back in health care for members of Congress.
Congressmen also get free haircuts. If we all take a pledge against that, you'll still see plenty of mullets in Tennessee.
Here's an analogy. Jeff Flake of Arizona constantly attacks "earmarks." The result is that his district never gets any earmarks, he never passes any bills of any kind, and his committee assignments are lousy. He gets some good media out of it, but he never accomplishes anything. People think he's a flake. Not just a Flake, but a flake.
I'm not saying that cutting health care for members of Congress is a bad idea. Actually, as you can see, I'd not only be in favor of that, but a lot beyond that.
I agree with Alan Grayson on all of this except I don't approve of making fun of anyone's name. (People with an odd name like his should know better.)
Hey, I may be one of the few uninsured people who's filed to run for Congress and if I somehow were elected, could you blame me for getting health insurance?
Of course, with a House member's salary, I could probably afford to do what I can't now and buy my own coverage.
We all need health insurance. I'm still in favor of Medicare for all Americans.
Posted by Richard at 6:31 PM
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Rep. Jeff Flake Rakes in the Dough: New FEC Report Shows He's Got More Money Than He Knows What to Do With; No Wonder He Doesn't Care About You
From the East Valley Tribune's estimable expert on local politics, Paul Giblin:
The latest national campaign finance reports underscore one of the benefits of incumbency – access to money.
In seven of the eight U.S. House races across the state, the incumbents, regardless of their parties, are far ahead of their challengers in collecting campaign contributions. . .
Over in the 6th District, four-term Republican incumbent Jeff Flake is running practically unopposed. He has raised $891,000 and had $975,000 cash on hand, thanks to spill-over from his previous campaign. His top three industry sectors were finance, insurance and real estate at $149,000 combined; miscellaneous businesses at $110,000; and construction interests at $54,000.
His Democratic opponent, author Richard Grayson hasn’t filed campaign finance reports.
The 6th District takes in parts of Mesa and Chandler, plus all of Gilbert, Queen Creek, and Apache Junction.
I didn't bother filing an FEC report because my arthritic fingers hurt from writing all those zeros.
You can check out where Jeff Flake got all that money from. The PAC of Orbital Sciences? New Orleans's Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold? The United Egg Association?
Whatever, as long as Jeff Flake's coffers are bulging, right?
Uh, since he is, as Paul Giblin notes, running virtually unopposed (I can't speak for the other Democrats, but I'm pretty certain I don't exist), what is Jeff Flake going to do with all that money?
Posted by Richard at 4:09 AM
Posted by Richard at 3:44 AM
Friday, April 18, 2008
As Hubert H. Humphrey would say, I'm as pleased as punch to report that two new Democrats have entered the race to represent Arizona's Sixth Congressional District in Congress.
Rebecca Schneider of Mesa is a librarian at ASU who has the compassion sorely lacking in Rep. Jeff Flake.
Chris Gramazio of Queen Creek is a working man, married father of one (and one on the way), who has the common sense so foreign to Rep. Jeff Flake.
Either of them would be a vast improvement over the Sixth Congressional District's current pathetic excuse for a people's representative.
I started this campaign and blog last year because I was mad that I had no Democrat to vote for in the 2006 U.S. House race.
If either Chris or Rebecca, or both, successfully file their petitions to get on the September 2 Democratic primary ballot, I will gratefully step aside and enthusiastically vote for our party's candidate. If by some chance, neither gets on the ballot, I'll run as a write-in candidate.
Till there's clearly a Democratic candidate in November, I'm going to continue this furshlugginer blog, not trying to promote my own candidacy but explaining why Rep. Jeff Flake needs to be replaced by a progressive Democrat.
Good luck to both Rebecca and Chris. I am really, really happy you are running.
Posted by Richard at 5:02 AM
Rep. Jeff Flake Expresses His Disdain for College Students and their Parents as House Votes 383-27 to Save Student Loan Program
Yesterday, House Republicans and Democrats united to save the imperiled student loan program, voting 383-27 to pass the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act, which would allow dependent students to borrow a total of $31,000 through federal programs to pay for undergraduate education, up from $23,000.
Independent students could borrow $57,500, up from $46,000. The bill would also give the Education Department the ability to buy federally guaranteed loans from private lenders, giving banks cash to make new loans.
“This bill is a first step to prevent a crisis before it happens,” Representative Howard (Buck) P. McKeon (R-CA), said in a speech on the House floor. “And its consideration comes not a moment too soon.”
Rep. McKeon, the ranking Republican on the House, had earlier noted the problem in a press release:
The turmoil in our nation’s financial markets has spread to the federal student loan program, creating uncertainty among students and families preparing for the coming school year. Congress has an obligation to act quickly in the face of these challenges to restore market confidence and assist those borrowers grappling with a weakened economy.
The Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act represents the first concrete, legislative steps to address weaknesses in the student loan market. Though it is not the final word on market restoration, this bill will begin to restore investor confidence, address liquidity shortages, and most importantly, provide assistance to student and parent borrowers.
Market instability coupled with the deep funding cuts enacted last year has created a perfect storm for the student loan programs in which investor confidence has been shaken and program viability has been called into question. Although I continue to harbor serious concerns about the reduction in federal support for student loans, I believe the legislation introduced today will send a powerful signal that Congress continues to support a strong, stable student loan program now and into the future.
Thank God for the overwhelming majority of Republicans and Democrats like Buck McKeon who actually care about the scary situation facing middle-class families who must deal with the incredibly expensive costs of higher education.
As a college teacher and administrator for 33 years, I've seen student seen more than one student cry because she couldn't come back for another term due to lack of money.
But Rep. Jeff Flake couldn't care less about helping families afford college expenses.
That's why he was one of only 27 House members to tell the student loan program to drop dead.
Some of us want to lower or eliminate interest on student loans. Rep. Jeff Flake, on the other hand, simply has no interest in student loans.
The very idea of government helping students and parents offends his extremist laissez-faire ideology.
Jeff Flake flunks a bunch of courses that a congressman should at least get a C in: Compassion, Concern and Common Sense.
Jeff Flake doesn't care about you or your kids.
Jeff Flake knows his own future, and his seat in the corridors of power, is safe.
Maybe next November will be the time to teach him a lesson.
Posted by Richard at 3:01 AM