Sunday, February 01, 2009

Lazy Sunday

I didn't mind when they said it was going to snow. I grew up in Phoenix, you know, I never saw any snow, I think it's pretty. Here in the Washington area people freak out when snow is coming, they buy a bunch of groceries, shut down the schools, but I think a little snow on the ground gives everything a nice look. Snow falling from the sky has an ethereal quality, snow is fun to play in -- I don't even mind shoveling snow. It's kind of like chopping wood, there's something pleasant, maybe even spiritual, about that kind of heavy, mindless work.

Ice. No. Ice is not good.

So far this week I have only fallen, I mean totally fallen on my butt, once. But I find that there is also a bad feeling when your feet go shooting out and you try to bring your legs back under you. Hamstrings, knees, back .. it hurts. The world looks nice in a strange way under a sheet of ice but let me go on record as saying that I do not agree with the policy of burying everything under two or three inches of slick ice. Put a foot of fluffy snow on the ground, I am good with that, we'll go with the kids over to the mansion to sled down the hill, I'll even go down a few times. But sidewalks of ice, roads of ice, lawns of ice, no, I'm tired of this already. I live on a corner. I went out the other day with a hoe and busted up the ice on the side facing the busy street and shoveled up the pieces, but along the other street ... I'm sorry, people, you'll just have to walk somewhere else. The ice is just as hard as the concrete under it, it's like epoxy, there's no way I can get a shovel under that. Today it's supposed to get up near fifty degrees, I hope nature will clear my sidewalk. I feel bad about it. Really. Sort of.

Let me comment on the week in American history: man, this is cool.

President Obama has been busy trying to un-do the mess the last guy left. I don't know if you can reverse eight years of mismanagement in four years, but he started on Day One and it looks like he's going to keep working at it. The Republicans have an easy plan. Their administration left the new guy a disaster to clean up, and really I have to agree with the Republicans in this, there's a good chance he won't be able to fix things. The war, environmental policy, the economy, torture and imprisonment of people without charges, food and drugs, surveillance, health care, education, emergency management ... everything is a mess. So their clever plan is to oppose everything the President tries to do, and if the country's still a disaster at the end of his term they can say, "I told you so," and then Sarah Palin will have a chance. Or some other unqualified person. We will appreciate them for having the wisdom to oppose all attempts to fix things, I guess. We'll see how that works out.

So it looks like for the next four years we will see one party trying to get the country back on its feet and the other party trying to undermine them. I like this better than what we've had for the last eight years, one party destroying the country while the other party stands around picking their noses. Still, for those of us who have a tendency to feel a little cynical, you keep hoping they'll prove you wrong. You can be cynical and hopeful at the same time.

There was some local news this week when the out-of-steam Citizens for a Responsible Whatever went to court to whine ask the judge, "Please., we screwed up the first time, but give us another chance." They took up a half hour of taxpayer-supported court time, still trying to relegalize discrimination against transgender people. I don't know if the judge literally LOLed at them, but I'd be pretty sure they are not going to get to have their referendum or throw out the new law. The bill passed unanimously in the County Council, the County Executive was proud to sign it, it's been law for months and there are no negative effects. The people of the county are not bigots, they support equal rights for transgender people, this is nothing but background noise at this point.

I was surprised this morning to read some details in The Post about a man who lay dying on the sidewalk in Capitol Heights while people walked past. The first stories had some homeless guys arguing about beer. Today's story tells us that the guy, Jose Sanchez, died from the beating he received. Down in the fourth paragraph we learn this:
According to a charging document, Escobar told detectives that he punched Sanchez and knocked him to the ground after Sanchez "called him a homosexual." Escobar said others also struck Sanchez while he was on the ground. Attack Victim, Ignored By Passersby, Has Died

The beating was caught on videotape, along with nineteen minutes of people walking past the unconscious man, who was lying on the sidewalk during Tuesday's freezing cold. There is a video report from Channel 8 HERE (there is a more recent report, but I can't get the video to work). At one point, somebody moves him so his head is not on the curb. People step over him and hurry by. I might take back that part about being both cynical and hopeful.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"So their clever plan is to oppose everything the President tries to do, and if the country's still a disaster at the end of his term they can say, "I told you so,""

Jim, Jim, Jim...

The Republicans don't just oppose the bill. They have constructive suggestions. It's not just obstruction. Most experts from both sides of the spectrum agree with them. Even the Washington Post, hardly a Republican propaganda publication says Obama should push Congress to adopt a more bipartisan bill and drop the social agenda legislation until another time.

Here's their thoughts from yesterday morning:

"MOUNTING THE bully pulpit last week, President Obama gave Wall Street a lecture about the $18.4 billion in bonuses that the securities industry awarded itself in 2008. This was "outrageous," Mr. Obama said. In these tough times, he declared, financiers must "show some restraint and show some discipline and show some sense of responsibility." Well said. Now the president should make the same demand on those in Congress, including leaders of his own party, who are cluttering his fiscal stimulus plan with extraneous and counterproductive provisions.

The United States faces an economic emergency, and economists generally agree that a big package of federal spending and tax cuts could help. But experts are voicing skepticism about the composition of the $825 billion measure that emerged from the Democratic-controlled House last week -- and which the Senate is now increasing. The concern: Instead of giving the economy a "targeted, timely and temporary" injection, the plan has been larded with spending on existing social programs or hastily designed new ones, much of it permanent or probably permanent -- and not enough of it likely to create new jobs.

Former Clinton administration budget director Alice Rivlin fears that "money will be wasted because the investment elements were not carefully crafted." Former Reagan administration economist Martin Feldstein writes that "it delivers too little extra employment and income for such a large fiscal deficit." Columbia University's Jeffrey D. Sachs labels the plan "an astounding mishmash of tax cuts, public investments, transfer payments and special treats for insiders."


So much for "targeted" and "temporary." What about "timely?" The administration says that it wants 75 percent of the money to "spend out" within 18 months. But the Congressional Budget Office estimates that, under the House bill, only 64 percent of the spending and tax cuts will hit the economy by 2011. And in recent days, a new threat has emerged -- namely that the bill will become a vehicle for resurgent protectionism. The House added "Buy American" provisions for iron, steel and textiles, and the Senate seems bent on expanding the list of products. The vice president seems blithely heedless of the danger these measures pose. Supported by Republicans as well as Democrats, the protectionism could undo whatever job creation the stimulus plan achieves by provoking U.S. trading partners into excluding U.S. goods.

Mr. Obama has sought bipartisan support for the bill. This is to his credit, but by simultaneously courting Republicans and assigning the actual drafting of the bill to Democratic congressional leaders, he has wound up zigzagging between the two parties rather than herding them together. When he seemed to lean toward more tax cuts to win over Republicans, Democrats rebelled and opted for more spending. When they proposed hundreds of millions of dollars for contraceptives and the Mall, Mr. Obama had the controversial provisions removed, but too late to win over Republicans.

What he needs to do now is take charge. Yes, the Republicans can try to spoil things with a filibuster in the Senate. And, yes, Democrats won the November election, so they are entitled to shape policy. But only Mr. Obama has a 67 percent Gallup Poll approval rating. Only he embodies this anxious nation's hopes for change. No one in Washington can match his clout. He should use it to make sure Congress gives him a stimulus plan that is not only big but coherent and, most of all, effective."

If the Democrats want to stay in power for a long time, they'll stop whining and heed the advice their opponents have so generously provided.

February 02, 2009 8:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one should heed any advice about how to handle money from the people who are responsible for the mismanaged spending in Iraq. We all saw the GOP take the budget from Clinton's surplus to Bush's deficit. That's one of the reasons we voted for CHANGE.

The office of Stewart Bowen, the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, released its report on Iraq reconstruction today, which in part states:

The report presents a detailed chronological history of the U.S. reconstruction program in Iraq, threading together a number of themes that presented themselves during the endeavor, including:
• the enormous challenges that security problems posed for rebuilding efforts
• the dramatic and frequently reactive course-changes in reconstruction strategy
• the turbulence engendered by persistent personnel turnover at every level
• the waste wrought by inadequate contracting and contract management practices
• the poor integration of interagency efforts bred by weak unity of command and
inconsistent unity of effort.


We certainly do not want or need shoddy planning, poor integration, weak and inconsistent unity of effort, or mismanagement when we're trying to fix our broken economy.

February 02, 2009 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL, Bea.

The Republican era saved America from the triple misery index of Jimmy Carter and sustained over a quarter century of virtually uninterrupted expansion and prosperity. The last year is a disaster whose cause is not yet agreed upon. The most plausible explanation I've heard is the effect of currency mainpulation by the Chinese government with some complication by unthoughtful actions by the Fed Chairman and Barney Frank.

The problem with blaming on George Bush is that the situation is virtually the same around the globe, in governments with every variation in financial regulation and governmental interference in the economy.

We're doing better than most and our economy shook off tremendous burdens in the last eight years from 9/11 to Katrina. Hard to believe that returning to the policies of the late 70s will be an upgrade to the economy.

February 02, 2009 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's it, the economy is Barney Frank's fault, all by his queer little self.

February 02, 2009 2:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's it, the economy is Barney Frank's fault, all by his queer little self.

February 02, 2009 2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, Robert, you know I said he only made a small contribution.

He's a colorful guy, though. How many members of Congress can say there was once a male prostitution sevice operating out of their house?

Colorful guy.

Almost like a rainbow.

btw, isn't it interesting how Democrats all seem to think Americans should pay more tax but they don't seem able to bring themselves to do it.

Daschle and Geithner.

Colorful guys, these Democrats.

Almost like a Dickens novel.

Could you imagine if these revelations had come out about any Bush nominee?

February 02, 2009 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"How many members of Congress can say there was once a male prostitution sevice operating out of their house?"

I don't know Anon, but I bet there's a whole lot more anti-gay and anti-choice types who pay prostitutes of either gender for sex.

February 02, 2009 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're probably right.

Apparently one of the many mental illnesses present in the gay community is that many deviants want to infiltrate normal society and pretend to be anti-gay.

It's interesting how high the incidence of mental illness is among gays.

February 02, 2009 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's most interesting is how many churches encourage gays to pretend be straight, to infiltrate normal society and to speak out against gays, like you do.

February 02, 2009 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, churches encourage gays to renounce deviant behavior.

They also encourage liars to not lie, stealers not to steal and killers not to kill.

They encourage all these to confess their past and not repeat it. They never encourage anyone to pretend anything.

Inability to distinguish between desire and action is another mental problem many gays have!

It's interesting.

It really is.

February 02, 2009 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon said:

"Inability to distinguish between desire and action is another mental problem many gays have!"

You do have some scientific study to back this statement up right? Otherwise you're just making this up to promote your own agenda. That would be lying, wouldn't it? Not very church like. Oh wait a minute, there are all sorts of cases where churches have lied to protect their own (hiding pedophiles for example) and promote their own agenda, so maybe lying is church like after all.

Have a nice day,

Cynthia

February 02, 2009 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you hear that, in defending Daschle and Geithner, Harry Reid says that paying taxes in the U.S. is "voluntary?" Yes, he admits, people go to jail and get fined -- but paying taxes is voluntary. LOL.

Also, Bea - Newt Gingrich is the one who was responsible for the budget surplus in the Clinton era. I don't think that Newt could help in the Obama era, though. I always liked Clinton Obama, on the other hand, is a real mess.

February 02, 2009 9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where was Newt during Bush's reign of error, between wives? Maybe the GOP had a hand in collecting the surplus, which Clinton presided over, but the whole world saw that same GOP single-handedly blow Clinton's surplus into trillion dollar deficit territory when Bush was in charge.

Did you hear the business leaders who came to Capital Hill to defend the Democrats' stimulus package? None of them thinks tax cuts will create jobs or build bridges, but all of them agree spending on projects to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure will.

Note how out of it the GOP, in the person of Jim DeMint is on this issue:

DEMINT: There are two ways to do [the stimulus], George. One is for the government to take it out of the private sector through taxes and then decide where it's gonna go through political manipulation as they've done in the House. The other is just to leave more money in the private sector for consumers to spend and businesses to invest, that's the American way, and that's the approach we're pushing.

SNUFFLEUPAGUS: All tax cuts, no increases in spending of any kind, yet most economists say that investments, the right kind of investments, create more jobs.

DEMINT: Well, I'm not sure what economists you're talking to ... We have to decide if we want to be a free market economy and let the money stay there or be a government-directed economy which is where we're headed with this plan.

FRANK: ...Let's agree that we're all Americans here, Jim. Nobody's got the "American way" versus presumably the "non-American way." And as far as spending versus tax cuts, I think we need to fix some highway and bridges. I never saw a tax cut fix a bridge. I never saw a tax cut give us more public transportation...

...

SMITH, CEO FEDEX: No question about it, the infrastructure of the country has been underfunded for a long time, uh, it certainly would be a wise thing to invest in all kinds of infrastructure...

...

SCHMIDT, CEO GOOGLE: The business community needs action now. There's a sense that things are getting worse...It's time for government action...to get people going again.

...

DEMINT: It really comes down to a basic argument. Do you want a government-directed plan or do you want the free markets to work?

FRANK: Yes, I do want highways. I want better medical care for people laid off...This notion, the one thing I'd most disagree with, you say we're over-regulated...the notion that everything is solved by a tax cut...there are public needs that we have in this society that cannot be accomplished by a tax cut. No tax cut built a road. No tax cut puts a cop on the street...

...

DEMINT: We can take a trillion dollars out of the economy and we're saying we might create 3 million jobs. If we leave it in the economy the economists at the Heritage Foundation say we create 18 million jobs, this is something we know...

SCHMIDT: I'm worried that tax cuts alone won't work because people are not paying any taxes because they're not making any money.


He's quoting the Heritage Foundation, the same outfit who thinks self-report of sexual behavior by teens is more valid a measure of their sexual conduct than urinalysis! The Heritage Foundation prefers to manipulate data to give the desired result over analyzing the data to find out what it actually shows. It's time we return to relying on honest science rather than relying on the word of spin doctors.

Joan Walsh adds:

Meanwhile, this morning MSNBC's Joe Scarborough began railing about how the plan's rebates to working people who don't earn enough to pay income taxes (though they do pay sales, payroll and property taxes) amount to "socialism." Let's get this straight: It's socialism when government gives money to workers whose jobs don't pay enough to keep them out of poverty, but it's not socialism when the government bails out greedy, failed banks? I guess not, especially if the bailout forces don't impose limits on executive compensation or play a role in managing the bailed-out enterprises. That's actually called lemon socialism, as Paul Krugman notes, in which "taxpayers bear the cost if things go wrong, but stockholders and executives get the benefits if things go right." Obama knows better than that.

The Washington Post reported

President Obama yesterday scolded Wall Street bankers who received millions of dollars in bonuses last year, calling the payouts "shameful" and chiding the executives for a lack of personal responsibility at a precarious time for the nation's economy...The president said he was reacting to a New York Times report about Wall Street executives who had given themselves almost $20 billion in bonuses in 2008, the same amount they received collectively during the much more bullish 2004.

The GOP is bereft of ideas on how to fix the economy; they only know how to raid the federal budget by cutting taxes so they can drown the government in the bathtub.

February 03, 2009 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting how high the incidence of anti-scoial behavior (not to be confused with mental illness, which is, after all, an illness) is among anonymous internet trolls.

Being mean to people anonymously, is this not ipso facto anti-social behavior?

Even Fred Phelps uses his own name.

Mmmmmh.

February 03, 2009 11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert,

Regarding the "anonymous" issue...you call yourself "Robert." That's just as good as being "anonymous." If it makes you feel better, I'll call myself "Joe." What's the difference -- Joe, Anon, Robert, Bill, Sue, Mike, Mary, etc. That tells us nothing.

There are people on here who use their real names --such as David Fishback and Dana Beyer. But you....it's not like your name is "Cher" and you're well known by your first name. You call yourself "Robert." We all know a thousand people named "Robert."

So, I'm not getting why you, of all people, continually complain about that issue. I'll give a pass to Dana Beyer and David Fishback when/if they complain. But you? Nah.

February 03, 2009 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The GOP is bereft of ideas on how to fix the economy; they only know how to raid the federal budget by cutting taxes"

They have tons of ideas about HOW to spend and HOW to cut taxes to have the most impact on economic activity. They also have a quarter of a century of statistics to back them up.

Raiding the economy? Wouldn't that be an apt way to characterize spending a trillion dollars?

The whole issue is who can spend many most efficiently, government agencies or citizens.

Few would say the former.

February 03, 2009 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all remember last week when Barry "Exception" Obama said his Treasury Secretary's failure to pay taxes was "no big deal".

Now, he says he fully supports Tom Daschle.

Similarly to Democrats who want to raise taxes on others but evade them themselves, Barry "Exception" Obama has made new rules about lobbying activities but doesn't think he should have to follow them.

I guess this will be known as the Obama Doctrine: "the rules don't apply to me, I'm a special exception".:

"Barack Obama promised a "clean break from business as usual" in Washington.

It hasn't quite worked out that way.

From the start, he made exceptions to his no-lobbyist rule.

And now, embarrassing details about Cabinet-nominee Tom Daschle's tax problems and big paychecks from special interest groups are raising new questions about the reach and sweep of the new president's promised reforms.

On Jan. 21, the day after his inauguration, Obama issued an executive order barring any former lobbyists who join his administration from dealing with matters or agencies related to their lobbying work.

Nor could they join agencies they had lobbied in the previous two years.

However, William J. Lynn III, his choice to become the No. 2 official at the Defense Department, recently lobbied for military contractor Raytheon.

And William Corr, tapped as deputy secretary at Health and Human Services, lobbied through most of last year as an anti-tobacco advocate.

"Even the toughest rules require reasonable exceptions," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

That was a big step back from Obama's unambiguous swipe at lobbyists in November 2007, while campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"I don't take a dime of their money," he said, "and when I am president, they won't find a job in my White House.""

That Barry O.

He's an exceptional fellow.

February 03, 2009 12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerkface said:

"Robert,

Regarding the "anonymous" issue...you call yourself "Robert." That's just as good as being "anonymous." If it makes you feel better, I'll call myself "Joe." What's the difference -- Joe, Anon, Robert, Bill, Sue, Mike, Mary, etc. That tells us nothing.

There are people on here who use their real names --such as David Fishback and Dana Beyer. But you....it's not like your name is "Cher" and you're well known by your first name. You call yourself "Robert." We all know a thousand people named "Robert."

So, I'm not getting why you, of all people, continually complain about that issue. I'll give a pass to Dana Beyer and David Fishback when/if they complain. But you? Nah."

You obnoxious anonymous troll:

I have testified at an assembly for TTF, been fully public on this blog, spoken out in this area for years on lgbt issues, been on television, had my picture in the post, quoted in the Times, the Blade, the Gazette, the Post, the City Paper, and on NPR.

You are an obnoxious, anonymous idiot. Take your sarcasm, your hate, your enmity, your foolishness, and well....

Simply because you can not read, and have the memory of a dead fish, does not justify your idiotic, stupid comments.

My full name is Robert Rigby. Google it, you mooncalf.

February 03, 2009 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert

That was a new anon so they probably don't know who you were.

Take a deep breath and calm down.

February 03, 2009 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK

February 03, 2009 5:58 PM  

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