Armey; or, The Modern Prometheus

A few days back, we learned that James Spader will be playing the misanthropic robot Ultron in the next Avengers movie. To be honest, I do not know what to make of this. I love Spader, but I am not sure if even he can portray such an inhuman character.

For those who do not know, Ultron was the creation of one of the Avengers, Dr. Henry Pym, also known as the superhero Yellowjacket. To make a long story short, Ultron quickly developed a psychopathic intelligence, then turned on his creator and the Avengers, and then dedicated himself to the destruction of all mankind. It is a cautionary tale, really.

I thought of Ultron today as I heard about how Dick Armey and other Republican leaders have expressed dismay at the behavior and tactics of Senator Ted Cruz (R-Alberta) now that their golden boy seems to be taking years of extremist rhetoric seriously. There is a metaphor in here somewhere.

Attention Pundits: This is What Real Bi-Partisanship Looks Like

From House Minority Leader Chad Campbell’s Facebook feed:

“Describing mine and Gov. Brewer’s relationship these past couple of years as “frosty” is definitely one way to put it… That being said, I give her credit for taking on Medicaid expansion and some school safety issues in her State of the State speech today. I sincerely hope we can put aside our differences and work together on these key issues, as well as others.”

And this, from Tucson’s own Democratic State Senator Steve Farley’s Facebook feed:

“Governor Brewer just told us she will fight to expand AHCCCS coverage to everyone below 133% of the poverty line. I haven’t been this happy with a State of the State since Gov. Napolitano! She has quite a battle against her own party now….”

Here is a statement from Bill Roe, the Arizona Democratic Party Chairman:

“I am glad that Governor Jan Brewer agrees with Democrats and is calling for full expansion of the Medicaid program under President Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act. Expansion will give Arizona’s economy a much-needed boost by creating jobs. It is the right thing to do since it will provide Arizonans with adequate health care. We hope the Governor’s leadership is enough to convince members of her own party to put the needs of Arizona ahead of petty political brinkmanship.”

The opposition party in Washington D.C. could learn a lot from these people.

Catching Up

All sorts of articles and links I have been meaning to comment on have come over the transom over the last few days. What better way to write a Friday morning post than to summarize…a précis, so to speak.

First off, Hispanic Politico had a piece yesterday proclaiming “Tea Party Republican Tom Horne set to retire?” Fun little story, I suppose, but don’t expect to happen any time soon. The story is based on a whackjob e-mail being circulated among tea party activists. The most interesting part of it is, despite the Horne’s crusade against ethnic studies, he’s got tea partiers that aren’t enamored with him.

Also this week, Ann Kirkpatrick’s campaign got a little bit of mileage from Jonathan Paton’s pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He said this in an address to the Navajo Nation Council, and the act includes a reauthorization of the Indain Health Service.

I’d say “oops,” but given how much of the rhetoric against the ACA isn’t actually based on what’s in it (they are still talking “death panels), I don’t think it really matters to him or a lot of these candidates how they would deal with the issues that would come up if the act disappeared.

By the way, Paton still hasn’t risen above “on the radar”, despite being the leading candidate for the Republican nomination in an area that has been represented by Republicans in all but four years of the last two decades.

And finally, color me totally unshocked that Russell Pearce was sending racist e-mails. Cue the responses that there is not a single, solitary person with a racist bone in their body that is in any way involved in the anti-immigration movement. Yeah, it’s Randy Parraz sowing racial division by being all Hispanic and trilling the Rs in his last name.

What Was Weak Last Week

Okay, things I forgot to mention over the last week:

– KPHO in Phoenix repeated the right wing meme that no Arizona law enforcement was present at a White House meeting on immigration. The trouble is, Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor was. KPHO eventually took the story off of its website.

– Along the same lines, Phoenix writer Terry Greene Sterling wrote a piece for Daily Beast about Jan Brewer’s vetoes. Trouble is, she once again gave her credit for changing her stance on transplants, when she’s done nothing of the kind. Chuck Coughlin must be happy that even ostensibly liberal writers are buying the spin and giving La Cervecera props for something that never happened.

– But wait, there’s more. The Republic ran an editorial on Friday raking Andrei Cherny and Kyrsten Sinema over the coals for not “thanking” the governor for her vetoes. Next up: the Republic criticizes the thousands of Arizonans thrown off of AHCCCS for not being more gracious, and takes on homeowners for not being more thankful for the privilege of having their property taxes raised to pay for corporate tax cuts.

Jack Harper continues his quest to make sure that everyone knows he’s a buffoon by spreading a video that purports to show Ruben Gallego picking his nose (Harper’s definition of “nose picking” apparently includes nose scratching). His tag line: “While Republicans are working to secure the border, Democrats are just picking their noses.” This is what passes for “clever” in the Republican caucus these days.

More Voices Against HB 2067

I was going to call some of my erstwhile legislative sources this morning, but they finally had sine die at around 5:30 AM. If any of them had bothered to answer their phones, any reports I would have had would have been a combination of hostility and incoherence.

Come to think of it, that’s probably a good summary of the legislative session.

I recieved an e-mail from one member of the faculty at the College of Medicine who gave me a thumbs up for what I wrote about HB 2067. Thank you for the encouragement, sir! The Star has also written a decent article on the dispute and what it might mean for the future of UMC and the College of Medicine.

I don’t know if the e-mail I got was for public consumption, but there is a statement from G. Michael Lemole Jr., MD, the Chief of Neurosurgery at UMC, going around that expresses much the same sentiment:

As an academic neurosurgeon, I came here to join the University of Arizona to become part of a large, integrated academic enterprise, rather than just seeking employment at a community hospital.

More than a year ago, all of the faculty were encouraged by the direction the hospital, the physicians group, the College of Medicine and the University were taking to bring our medical efforts into alignment. And we perceive this progress is being threatened by the current legislation. We have to ask `how does this legislation improve the functioning of the enterprise?’ `How does it improve patient care?’ And if those questions are not easily answered I have to ask why are the legislators inserting themselves into this issue?

At the end of the day, when you are running an effective enterprise you do best when you are coordinated by your `general,’ by someone who has that broad strategic view. That, in my mind, is why the hospital needed to join the physicians’ group and needed to be brought under the umbrella of the University – so we could strategize together…everyone getting together with someone with that `10,000-foot’ view and oversight. This is where we need to concentrate our resources, this is where we need to strategize for the future, it seems to me.

This bill…would only lead to the type of fragmentation that was so frustrating prior to the last year.

The bill passed, by the way, and will be submitted to the governor for a signature or, hopefully, a veto.