Archive for August, 2011

“Autumn Closing In”

August 19, 2011

“Strange how the night moves —
With autumn closing in.”

When that deeply poetic lyric line appeared at the very end of Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” in 1976, coming out of nowhere from “the back seat of a ‘60 Chevy”, it somehow ignited a powerful, emotionally evocative response across the nation, giving Bob his first “Top 10 Billboard single” — making Seger an “overnight success” after more than fifteen years playing Michigan barn bashes, bars and Bar Mitzvahs.

We all seemed to get it — a sweetly poignant, nostalgic reflection on the inviolate passion of teenage years and the inevitable passage of time.

There’s again a certain wild rushing in the wind – a softly aching, sighing surrender to the insistence of change as night stretches over us in ever expanding return.

Things are blowing cold.

Congress is frozen as almost never before in the icy grip of a hardhearted Conservative core sworn to protect the interests of manipulative masters, convinced that their pledge to “starve the beast” through “no more taxes” will ultimately prove patriotic — blind to the blatantly nihilistic nature of their exercise.

While a sitting President ponders how such extraordinary efforts to compromise, even at the risk of shattering his own political base, could be so savagely rejected, would-be successors compete for the honor of most contentious class clown.

Consider:

+ Michele Bachmann wishing Elvis “Happy Birthday” on the 34th Anniversary of his Death, even as she offered Christian testimony that “submission” means exactly the same thing as “respect”, a definition Biblically errant by any theological standard.

+ Rick Perry, an astounding, squat little clone of George W. Bush and Yosemite Sam, negatively questioning “Evolution”, “Global Warming”, The Federal Reserve” and “Abortion Rights” all in the same breath — while chomping away on a quarter pound of deep fried Iowa State Fair butter on a stick.

+ Mitt Romney — at that same Fair — insisting with a straight face that corporations ARE people and ALL the money corporations earn go right back down to everyone else, especially me and you. Mine must still be in the mail.

+ Herman Cain — maintaining his obsessive fear of Muslims in general and “creeping Shariah law” in particular, even with triple cheese and double pepperoni.

+ Rick Santorum — echoing the Pizza Man’s Islamophobia, but adding gays and Same Sex Marriage as particular targets of sanctimonious scorn.

+ Tim Pawlenty — offering plenty of platitudes, then getting out fast while the getting was good when he finally noticed no one was noticing him.

+ Ron Paul being — Ron Paul — a curious combination of brilliant insight (getting our military out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and just about everywhere else) and baffling lunacy — shrinking our Federal Government to the size of gnat, then having his son, Rand, swallow it.

+ Newt Gingrich — a true loser — losing once again with such absurd observations as “Any ad which quotes what I said Sunday is a falsehood.”

+ John Huntsman — abandoning a perfectly fine job as U.S. Ambassador to China to be completely ignored by everyone who counts, since John’s thoughts seem far too, as Sarah Palin might say, “thinky.”

+ And Sarah, herself, whose biographical tour de farce, “The Undefeated”, was this summer’s biggest box office flop, raking in a total of $175,000 before being quickly pulled from theaters.

So does this writer have any answers?

Sure!

Is Smokey the Bear Catholic? Does the Pope sleep in the park?

Barack Obama should come out of his conciliatory closet like a Honey Badger in heat and demand that Congress enact sweeping historic legislation in a “New Age New Deal” — with hundreds of billions invested in infrastructure, education, and jobs, jobs, jobs — all surely called for by provisions in our Federal Constitution guaranteeing the promotion of general welfare.

The cost of such extensive spending should be born by long overdue revisions in the Federal tax code, final abandonment of the “Bush Tax Cuts”, withdrawal of our troops from harm’s way in Africa, Afghanistan and the Middle East, and a return to Eisenhower Era levels of taxation for the wealthiest among us. Such actions would also offer heavy positive impact in addressing current deficits and ultimately providing a balanced budget, as we last enjoyed under Democratic President Bill Clinton.

As such proposals undoubtedly would become immediate fresh fodder for unrestrained, uncompromising Republican rejection, they would also instantly provide a framework for true critical change, compensating for our current motivational malaise and becoming the basis for Obama’s reelection next year.

There’s nothing to it — but to do it!

Go, Honey Badger, GO!

“These Dog Days of Summer”

August 4, 2011

From the Merriam-Webster Free Dictionary:

“Woofed”

“Past tense of woof — (Verb)

1. Bark of a dog.

2. To say something in an ostentatious or aggressive manner, but with no intention to act.”

With the nation held hostage once again, our President blinked. Abandoning other viable options, he caved. Embarrassing himself and supporters in full global view, he was wonderfully woofed by Speaker Goofy and the gang, all of whom had repeatedly gone on record guaranteeing they wouldn’t do what Obama feared they might. They started pretending and he began bending. They woofed and it worked.

As the House of Representatives went first in voting on “The Budget Control Act of 2011” with only hours to go before an artificial, arbitrary “deadline”, Democrats tied at 95 to 95 while Republicans overwhelmingly approved the measure 174 to 66. Then the whole Senate rolled over with confirmation at 74 to 26 and the measure was sent to the White House for a presidential signing strikingly devoid of ceremony or celebration. Behind the scratch of his pen, I believe I heard crickets.

The Economic Policy Institute, a highly accredited nonpartisan think tank, estimates that the devil’s deal struck August 2nd officially raising the nation’s debt limit will end up costing our American economy 1.8 million jobs by the end of next year. And will probably plunge us into further recession/depression/suppression.

In signing the extraordinarily tortured piece of superfluous legislation, President Obama simultaneously announced he is now going to concentrate on the most important immediate priority facing our country — jobs.

This seems the biggest disconnect since Lucy left Desi, Eddie departed Debbie or, for younger readers, since Charlie split from Winona, Bree, Heidi, Robin, Rachel, Brooke, Capri, Denise, Elizabeth Ann, Ginger, Heather, Kacey, Tracy, Kelly, Tamara, Dolly, Melanie, Michelle, Natalie — and others of varying significance.

Meanwhile, Congress, having failed to resolve an issue involving the Federal Aviation Administration, went home and started enjoying a fully paid five week vacation, leaving 75,000 support and construction workers unemployed, including over 400 safety inspectors. House Speaker John Boehner publicly stated the whole problem could be resolved immediately in exchange for Democratic concessions on changing a labor rule to make it more difficult for airline workers to unionize. The cost to taxpayers on this newest GOP hostage taking? 200 million dollars a week in lost airline fees or, by the time September arrives, a cool billion bucks gone bye-bye from our Federal Treasury. So much for dealing with the deficit.

For those who might feel the word “hostage” is pure Democratic hyperbole, here are Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Kentucky) comments:

“I think some of our members may have thought the default issue was a hostage you might take a chance at shooting. Most of us didn’t think that. What we did learn is this — it’s a hostage that’s worth ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.”

You know what? I can’t fairly fault good old boy Mitch. What works — works. Decoded?

“This hostage thing is a dog that DOES hunt.”

And there’s another old Kentucky saying I’ve always treasured, herein edited for purposes of propriety in a family newspaper–

““Hostage” me once? Shame on you. “Hostage” me twice? Shame on me!

Blame for such future shame should be properly attributed accordingly, substituting “me” with the collective “us” for any critically necessary future change in which we can truly believe.

In faithfully backing Barack with dog like loyalty, perhaps some of us have been barking up the wrong tree.

Unless he’s finally listening.