Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 78

On the Slurpee Summit
Slurpees have little-to-no nutritional value, so it is an excellent symbol of the recent meeting between Republican Congressional leaders and the White House. The McConnell-Boehner team took the meeting so seriously that they published this op-ed in the Washington Post the day of the meeting – and to no surprise – it is fully of party rhetoric and plenty of evidence that they misread the recent election results.

On Earmarks Vote
A vote banning earmarks sent the proposal down in flames. Interestingly, 14 senators voted against their party: Evan Bayh* (D-IN), Sen. Bob Bennett** (R-UT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Thad Cochran (R-MS.), Susan Collins (R-ME), Sen. Russ Feingold** (D-WI), James Inhofe (R-OK), Dick Lugar (R-IN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Richard Shelby (R-AL.), Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. George Voinovich* (R-OH). It will be interesting to watch future actions of these senators. * Retiring   ** Defeated

On the Kyl Trail
Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is against a tax increase for anyone. Senator, when tax policy comes to a vote, remember this – decreasing my tax rate and increasing the amount I pay is a tax increase you jackwagon! (A reminder: That’s better than being a nincompoop.)

On the Street Sign Mandate

Someone got this great idea to mandate local governments to change all their street signs from all caps to initial-cap style. This is a brilliant example of Washington’s clueless behavior.

On the Palin Express
Today, the Sarah Palin book signing tour comes within 10 miles of my home. I hope to get a signed copy of both her book and a world map for Melissa and Emma. Meanwhile, Republican and MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough had this interesting article on Sarah Palin this week at Politico.

On a Classic Letter
I don’t read PolitiFact as much as I want, but I appreciate its work. They recent published this must-read letter from an unhappy reader that made me smile.

On Law & Order
This week’s episode of Law & Order: Los Angeles included includes a philandering golf star and his club-wielding wife. The writers using Tiger’s situation is probably a long shot. If you miss it, view it here.

On a few Sports Shorts

  • The TCU Horned Frogs are bound to the Big East Conference. Could someone please tell me why the Big 12-that-is-actually-10 let TCU get away.
  • Oh the pain of my football teams: 2-10, 4-7, and 2-9. Then again, you don’t see me running to jump on the another’s bandwagon. After all, true fans endure the pain too. Good news is that only two of them are playing this weekend.
  • Another Ohio State-Michigan game in the books, and another bore.

On another Classic Angle
Many of us flock to the movies during the holiday season. We enjoyed Unstoppable – the predictable action thriller about a runaway train. In the spirit of moviegoers everywhere, here is one of my favorite posts from the past. It’s about popcorn – and the video at the end is one of my favorites.

Have a safe weekend.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 59

On Republicans and Pork Earmarks
While many Republican House members are foregoing earmarks, let me set the record with these key points:

  • Their pledge is only for one year – an election year
  • They can still get earmarks through their senator

On the Republicans No to Financial Reform
As the Republicans have come out against financial reform, let us remember these points:

  • The financial industry is the foundation of an economy.
  • The GOP led the charge to deregulate the financial industry, which ran amuck.

As Senator McConnell says “No” to Democratic proposed regulation, he is also saying “Yes” to deregulation.

On the VAT
For whatever reason, the White House let the cat out of the bag that it is considering a Value Added Tax. That has to be one of the dumbest, poorly timed ideas I have encountered. Is President Obama actually trying to unseat himself? Here is a good column about the VAT from George Will.

On the Maverick
Senator John McCain faces a tough challenge in the primary for his current seat. Although he has served his country well, I personally wish he would step aside, thus actually go out on a high note. I appreciated this Leonard Pitts column.

On the Volcano
Although many understand the risk volcanic ash brings to air travel, some of the comments still cause me to shake my head. How about the complainers forming a human shield block the spewed ash?

On the Reds
The Cincinnati Reds are off to a pathetic start (6-9). The one thing worse than watching the batters is watching the pitchers. Even with lousy pitching and poor hitting leading the good news is that the long baseball season has many natural peaks and valleys. By the way, going into Thursday night’s game, the Reds are the only team without a win from the starting pitching.

On a Classic Angle
With baseball season underway, here are two of my most read posts about the game:

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 15

On the President’s Birth Certificate
I continue to be amazed that numerous partisans continue to maintain that President Obama was not “naturally born” in this country, thus the Constitution doesn’t support his presidency. Of course many of these people would claim fraud even if they pulled the certificate themselves from the Hawaii files.

I offer these two sources for the sensible seeking closure to this conspiracy theory.

FYI: Hawaii law only releases birth and marriage certificates to the person on the documents or their immediate relatives.

On Partisan Divisions
Is anyone tired of the opposing party giving their response after the president addresses Congress? Come on parties, start showing country-first behavior … yes that also applies to the Democrats the next time you’re out of the White House.

Although the call of socialism by the GOP against the President Obama continues to serve as red meat for the partisans, the language of socialism and idolization of Joe the Plumber serves as an intentionally-delivered divisive wedge. Why? Surely not for the purpose of working toward a constructive solution; therefore it is only aimed at regaining their political foothold. Nothing else and nothing more.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) is calling for a spending freeze. How about starting with freezing Congressional salaries until the Federal government operates for two consecutive years without a deficit? Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi (another problem) squashed that idea.

Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) states, “In just one month, the Democrats have spent more than President Bush spent in seven years on the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan and Hurricane Katrina combined.” Here’s the math.

On Earmarks
I’ve taken my shots at John Boehner many times, but he was correct to remind President Obama about his campaign stance on earmarks.

I know earmarks are actually a small percentage of the budget. People simply want efficient spending, which may be wishful thinking. For those wanting more on the Pelosi-Reid-led legislation of earmarks, here’s a source.

On President Bush
I continue to hope that neither Obama administration nor Congress will waste their time, effort, and money toward investigating the Bush administration. There are bigger and more important problems on the plate!

I just finished an article about loyalists working to preserve his legacy. One way or the other, time – and only time – will make that decision.

Federal Budget: Part 3: On Spending

Budgets have two primary activities: revenue (income) and costs (spending). A deficit occurs when spending exceeds income. Aren’t these two activities also important for a business’s bottom line? Aren’t these the same two premises important to our personal finances?

Many voters know that our federal government is inefficient and fiscally irresponsible. Senator McCain does blast earmarking, and to his defense, he’s hasn’t accepted earmarks. On the other hand, isn’t voting for a bill containing earmarks the same as accepting earmarks? Unquestionably yes. Senator McCain may not like pork, but he does enjoy the smell of bacon.

On the other hand, even if all earmarks were eliminated (and all else remained the same), a big annual deficit still exists, thus increasing the total debt. Senator Obama favors additional government for programs such as health care, meaning increased spending – thus the issue remains. Libertarians generally have a stronger stance regarding spending.

Many companies are in the news regarding layoffs to control spending. How often do we hear about the federal government downsizing? How often do congressional and White House staffs undergo a reduction in force?

The conservative Heritage Foundation provides the following graph showing spending over time. Consider going to the link to view other graphs about spending. (Once on the site, see the Next button in the lower right corner.)

Households From U.S. Bureau of the Census, Outlays from FY 2009 Historical Tables, Budget of the United States Government, Table 8.1.

Source: Households From U.S. Bureau of the Census, Outlays from FY 2009 Historical Tables, Budget of the United States Government, Table 8.1.

Many people know that federal spending is out of control, yet voters continue favoring incumbents and their spending habits. Today, the American saving rate is paltry; actually negative the past several years. Therefore, is it possible that voters are electing officials with the similar fiscal policies as the ones practiced in their own lives?

Next Post: The Budget Dilemma