Friday, August 5, 2011


Now we know why members of congress held their noses and passed the legislation to raise the debt ceiling. It’s August and the members needed to take off for their customary August recess. There was a time when it took a lot longer to get home to shake hands with the voters. No TV, no cell phones, no twitter, no facebook, no jets that can get you from one coast to the other in hours instead of days. And no air conditioning. I’ve read that DC was considered a hard ship post for most European diplomats back in the days before central air. It’s hot, it’s humid. I think they had to drain a swamp to build the city. The country is still on the ropes and one branch of the elected hired help pretty much takes the month off.

Polls released last night and early this morning have a damning message for that branch of the elected hired help. The voters are not happy campers. I’m not sure this bunch is any worse than the reps that came before them. After all, nobody’s gone after their opponents with a walking stick since a member of the South Carolina delegation beat Charles Sumner senseless with his walking stick, in chambers, before the Civil War.

How could the members of congress make us a little happier? Well they could skip that August recess for starters. We’ve got jets now. You can go home on Thursday, shake hands with the voters and still be back to work on Monday. Plus you have cell phones, high speed internet and air conditioning. Cut back on the other time off that seems to coincide with major holidays. Take the same time off that most working Americans receive. Which isn’t very much.

It wouldn’t hurt to announce that the only pledge an elected official needs to make is made when the oath of office is taken. And it would also help to remember that just because you won it doesn’t give you the right to ignore the opinions of the voters who supported the other candidate. Especially in a three or four way race. Yeah, you got biggest total, but the combined totals of the other candidates is larger than yours, so a little humility would go a long way. Oh, and thank your lucky stars that we don’t run the country like a private business because right now your performance reviews would be bloody dismal.

Cross posted in Walking With Hope.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On Using Your Head

In reference to Jackie's comment on the previous post:

I don't think folks can't remember. They just don't want to. They're too lazy.

With the bombardment of 24-hour-a-day media, where millions of opinions are thrown around as if they are facts--with no burden of proof put upon anyone--these lazy folks can just pick their "history du jour."

Especially if it speaks to their own personal fears, prejudices or desires.

And don't those media geniuses know that!

A couple of days ago, I promised Cynthia I would post something here that she had posted on Facebook. It speaks perfectly to the point I am trying to make:

One of the things I love about political discussion on fb is the links that people share. Media has changed so much that it's too easy to read only the niche sources that suit our own political beliefs. I do not believe that objective reporting exists anymore. Even when articles and entire sites, papers, magazines stick to factual reporting, what is left out or under-reported reveals bias. It’s imperative that we read what is outside of our political comfort zone. It’s the only way we can remain the informed citizenry a democracy must have to survive. The liberal/conservative split in media makes this much harder and has contributed to a greater fracture of the overall culture.

More than ever, we need to use these great brains endowed upon us by the Creator for more than just media play-back machines. We need to analyze. Remember. Understand.

Now, listen to your old Aunts Lisa and Cynthia: Get out there and think!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Is There Something In the Water...

...or is it Kool-aid...?

When Bill Clinton left office, there was a BUDGET SURPLUS of $236 billion. Which the Bush Administration immediately blew by cutting taxes to the rich, starting two wars, and sending out regular checks to us peons in order to buy our complicity.

Bush left us with a $1.3 trillion deficit, and an economy so broken that President-elect Obama was pressed to make policy decisions to staunch the bleeding before he even took office.

Now, suddenly the deficit is the "liberals'" fault.

C'mon, folks. Let's stop re-writing history and actually go back in our own memories to what really happened. Ten years is not so long a time that we should be hard put to remember...

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Random thoughts.

At the risk of being considered a traitor to my moderate to left leanings, maybe this would be the equivalent of lancing multiple boils if raising the debt ceiling hadn’t been considered a “housekeeping measure.”

Maybe we would have had this discussion a lot sooner if John and Joan public had seen the deficits ballooning after the Bush tax cuts and the decision to fight two wars off the books. The story we got on Iraq was that money from Iraqi oil was going to pay for that war. Yeah, right. Except that our handpicked candidates to run Iraq after the war couldn’t hold the country. And as if the Iraqis wouldn’t have a say in how their revenues would be spent.

Yes, raising the debt ceiling authorizes borrowing to pay for what congress has already authorized. But if raising it hadn’t been a “housekeeping measure” we might have asked some hard questions a lot sooner. Where are the jobs those tax cuts were supposed to create? Are they in America? Or are they in India and China?

It’s been sixty plus years since WWII, can’t the Europeans defend themselves by now? Alexander the Great, the Russians and the British have all tried to “tame” Afghanistan, they all failed. Something tells me that the best we can do is try to leave the country no worse off than we found it. Iraq was cobbled together from pieces of the British Mandate after the fall of the Ottomans. In the end the Iraqis will have to decide if they are going to be one nation or not. Again, maybe the best we can do is try to leave the country no worse off than we found it.

Oil companies are making record profits. Why do they need subsidies? We’re growing so much subsidized corn we can afford to dump it in other countries at a price below what their farmers need to stay on the land. Or we use it for animal feed. How much can we save if we end those payouts?

I forget who the senator was but he had a saying “a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.” And we appear to have barely avoided the financial equivalent of treating a sprained ankle by amputating the whole leg at the hip.