Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bi-partisan Balancing

I was watching McCain this AM talk about the budget, and after seeing tea party style Republicans looking at peanuts for political gain as it relates to budget cuts (think Foreign aid, only .16%, that's POINT ONE SIX), McCain kept on harping about Agriculture Subsidies. But again, nice political buzz word, but eliminating those subsidies is again, ONLY .07% (yes, POINT ZERO SEVEN).

I've said it before, if we are going to make meaningful efforts in restoring the federal budget to sanity, we need to make the painful, yet not politically popular, decisions to reel this behemoth in. I propose the following:

1) Do NOT raise the debt ceiling. Force congress to make the cuts or revenue investments necessary to stop the growth in borrowing and begin buying down the debt, not increasing it.

2) A straight across the board cut, 15 % to start, on ALL budget areas INCLUDING Defense.

3) Revenue enhancements; not the least of which is rolling back the top tier tax bracket to pre-President GW Bush levels, adding a scant 3 cents on the dollar influx on adjusted Gross Income of the first dollars over $500,000

So that's the quick and dirty of where I am at, but coming off the heals of the President's Debt Commission recommendations, there is a bi-partisan piece of legislation being proposed that also recognizes the balanced approach needed to resolve the budget conundrum:
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner is about to heed his own admonition that Congress "put up or shut up" when confronting the dangerously high federal debt.

The Virginia Democrat and U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a Georgia Republican, are close to introducing a complex bill that would cut trillions in federal spending, raise some taxes and lower others, and spread the pain of cutting the federal deficit among just about everyone in America.

Nothing will be sacred. Everything is open for cutbacks or change to get spending under control, including defense, Social Security and Medicare.
And that is all I ever said that has to happen to make true and real budget reductions, EVERYTHING needs to be on the table, be it cuts or revenue.

No, as it the case with any legislation, by the time it hits the floor it will be sliced and diced. Radicals from both sides will play politics with amendments and slight of hand proposals to get members in vulnerable district to go on records with trick votes. The bi-partisan authors have a message for them:
The political cost is so high, Warner said in a recent interview, that the entire plan has to be a single bill - one up-or-down vote.

"The only way you realistically can get there is if you get... one package where everybody can say, 'I don't like a lot of it, but the sum of the good it does is worth the pain it will cost,' " Warner said. "At the end of the day, this is not going to be a painless process."
It's not easy, and it will hurt, but the hurt should be spread evenly.

If YOU want to try your hand it dealing with trillions of dollars in deficits, play the game. It kind of puts things into perspective.


Monday, January 24, 2011

RIP, Jack!

My mother would get a kick out of me, when I was just a wee little boy, when I would go into the kitchen, and grab a chair, and drag it into the living room. JACK was on, and I wanted to do the exercises with him.

I watched Jack through those early years, and followed his life as he reached each and every milestone, while accomplishing another unheard of feat for a man his age. Even at 70, he pulled 70 rowboats in a flotilla while swimming for 2 1/2 hours in the waters off Long Beach. Jack was immortal, or so we thought or at least hoped.

Like George Burns we couldn't fathom a scenario of a world without their hope, their spirit, their drive. But mortality is a reality, and at 96 Jack succumbed to respiratory failure while battling pneumonia.

I miss you already, Jack. Thanks for the memories!!


Monday, January 17, 2011

McCain on Obama: "I believe he is a patriot"

Did you catch McCain's Op-Ep in the WaPo, yesterday? Here's a snippet:
President Obama gave a terrific speech Wednesday night. He movingly mourned and honored the victims of Saturday's senseless atrocity outside Tucson, comforted and inspired the country, and encouraged those of us who have the privilege of serving America. He encouraged every American who participates in our political debates - whether we are on the left or right or in the media - to aspire to a more generous appreciation of one another and a more modest one of ourselves.

The president appropriately disputed the injurious suggestion that some participants in our political debates were responsible for a depraved man's inhumanity. He asked us all to conduct ourselves in those debates in a manner that would not disillusion an innocent child's hopeful patriotism. I agree wholeheartedly with these sentiments. We should respect the sincerity of the convictions that enliven our debates but also the mutual purpose that we and all preceding generations of Americans serve: a better country; stronger, more prosperous and just than the one we inherited.
But this is the part that that hit home (emphasis mine):
I disagree with many of the president's policies, but I believe he is a patriot sincerely intent on using his time in office to advance our country's cause. I reject accusations that his policies and beliefs make him unworthy to lead America or opposed to its founding ideals. And I reject accusations that Americans who vigorously oppose his policies are less intelligent, compassionate or just than those who support them.

Our political discourse should be more civil than it currently is, and we all, myself included, bear some responsibility for it not being so. It probably asks too much of human nature to expect any of us to be restrained at all times by persistent modesty and empathy from committing rhetorical excesses that exaggerate our differences and ignore our similarities. But I do not think it is beyond our ability and virtue to refrain from substituting character assassination for spirited and respectful debate.
Read the whole thing, he's on to something!


Thursday, January 13, 2011


Last night:
At a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do -- it's important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds

President Brack Obama
January 12, 2011
I thought Right Wing blogger Allahpundit recognized the positives of last night:
right after the line “it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy,” he punctuated it with “it did not.” He’s not playing the “climate of hate” game here
and this part:
Ace heard a different speech than I did, I guess, but for what it’s worth, this is playing remarkably well thus far among righties on Twitter: Rich Lowry, Jonah Goldberg, Jim Geraghty, Andy Levy, S.E. Cupp, Philip Klein, and Ace’s own co-bloggers Drew and Gabe all thought it was rock solid.
I don't presume that this crazed mad man acted out based on words of others. It seems more clear each day that he was acting independently, irresponsibly, and delusionally.

However, isn't it enough to give us pause that maybe our words matter. Isn't it enough that the mere chance that something like this could happen by some kook taking words literally, rather than rhetorically. It is hopefull to see members on both sides of the aisle beginning to recognize this.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

AZ in Pictures

I thought these three cartoons did a decent job of recognizing the fractured debate even this incident has caused. At this point, I see too much finger pointing and not enough reflection.

I continue to pray for the recovery of all those injured, and for those greiving the loss of loved ones.


Monday, January 10, 2011

We Are All Responsible as Words Matter

President Bill Clinton, April 2010 (emphasis mine):
"What we learned from Oklahoma City is not that we should gag each other or that we should reduce our passion for the positions we hold - but that the words we use really do matter, because there's this vast echo chamber, and they go across space and they fall on the serious and the delirious alike. They fall on the connected and the unhinged alike," he said.

"One of the things that the conservatives have always brought to the table in America is a reminder that no law can replace personal responsibility. And the more power you have and the more influence you have, the more responsibility you have."
And I agree, the perpetrator of this horrendous attack is the one who is solely responsible, but it is a time to reflect on our words and how they effect others.

If we truly believe our positions are the correct ones, can't we successfully impress them on others without the incendiary dialogue. I know during President Bush's first term I was falling into that trap, but upon his re-election I'd like to think I dialed it back and stayed on the high road. Can't we all!?

My heart and prayers go out to the Victims of Arizona's tragic events. May the healing begin!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Governor Dayton!

I just like saying that. Not because he was my first choice, or even my preferred choice. Heck, he spent most of the election on my 'No way in hell' list. But the Right wing smear machine has already started the hatefest by taking a page out of the National Republican book.

See, it isn't about what is best for Minnesota. It's about their way or the highway. For them, elections only have consequences when the Right wins. When they lose it is to stop, stonewall, and HATE until everyone is beat into submission. Minnesotans tend to be smarter than that.

I've grown tired of the Strawman fights the bought and paid for blogs of the local Right stir up. They know if they ever had to actually debate real issues they'd get swallowed up. I refuse to fall into their heartless and soulless trap.

I'm going to stick to issues, because only juveniles stomp up and down demanding their way or the tantrums will continue. Us grownups are willing to do more than that.