Monday, April 27, 2009

Jet Flys Over NY and Scares Many

This story is so spooky... Not the best idea Air Force One keepers...

I remember the jets constantly flying over me at home in Washington D.C. on Sept. 11. They were so low I thought I would be able to reach up and touch them. Frightening stuff - scary memories.

Jet Flyover Frightens New Yorkers

Sunday, April 26, 2009

100 Days?

Please explain to me this fascination with 100 days. The President only has a hundred days then we are going to judge them and see if they stack up. The problem I have is that 100 seems just like an arbitrary number. Why not make it after one or two economic quarters? What am I missing, why did the media make it 100?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Will Franken be Minnesota's Second Comedian in the Senate?

We all know Al Franken's funny (at least he's supposed to be), but by the time he gets to the Senate it very well could be that he not the first Minnesota Senator who is requested for comedy engagements...Senator Klobuchar could be getting the call instead. Yesterday, she spoke at a gala in DC and apparently brought down the house. And they say Minnesotan's don't have a good sense of humor:
...it turns out Sen. Amy Klobuchar is funny. Very funny. Bring-down-the-house funny.

It's a tough crowd. No one really wants to be there, but they don't not want to be there either. Dinner is eaten. Planners are thanked for their planning and attendees for their attending, and then Nancy Pelosi, always radiant, takes the mic and gives a couple of corny jokes: "When Secretary Geithner gets a call from The New York Times, he doesn't know if it's for a scoop or a bailout." And Barack Obama's e-mail address is I'mAllEars@WhiteHouse.gov, while Rahm's is bleepbleepbleep@WhiteHouse.gov.

And then Klobuchar — who told Politico that she wrote half of her own jokes — stepped up, and things got unexpectedly funny.

"I'd like to make this as short as Bill Richardson's tenure as commerce secretary," she opened. "I raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriends — true story! I know that is the record in the Senate, but in the House it's held by Barney Frank." Roars of laughter, even from Frank.

Then she turned to the "great reporters? in this room — all of whom got scooped on the John Edwards story by the National Enquirer." She promised not to be too rough with them, though, since "I'm all about protecting endangered species."

Perhaps best of all: "Typically a Republican and a Democrat speak at this -- you could have saved a lot of money by asking Joe Lieberman."

When Klobuchar finished she received a partial standing ovation, the first this reporter has seen at a WPCF dinner.

...
After the dinner McCarthy, told Politico he knew he was in trouble following Klobuchar. "When she was finished, Tom Pryce emailed me and said 'What are you going to do now?' And then I thought, 'my last joke is about the clap!'"


Imagine the DFL dinners when they're both in the Senate!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tom Daschle Withdraws Nomination

From the NY Times:
Daschle Withdraws as Nominee for Health Post

Former Senator Tom Daschle, President Obama's nominee for
health and human services secretary, has withdrawn from
consideration for the post over his belated payment of
$128,000 in federal taxes.


Right, wrong, you decide? All I know is this is the second candidate who has withdrawn after what was supposed to be the most stringent vetting process in human history...or something like that.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stimulating Discussion: The Economic Stimulus Plan and Birth Control

The talk in Washington this week has been all about the economic stimulus package. Everyday comes with a new round of corporate lay-offs and what were once thought of as pessimistic predictions become reality. While it may not be so obvious living on a small college campus in Northfield, MN, outside of the bubble the crisis is quite evident.

On Wednesday, President Obama announced that there wasn’t a “moment to spare” with regards to Congress passing his stimulus plan. The fear-inducing language worked, and on that same day the House passed the $819 billion package with a vote of 244 to 188. This version of the plan passed by the House now heads to the Senate for approval. The package includes funding for numerous projects including $79 billion to establish a state fiscal stabilization fund, $87 billion to help states close their budget gaps created by Medicaid expenditures, $43 billion in unemployment benefits, and $275 billion in tax cuts.

Missing from the package, however, is the $200 million from the original plan marked to help provide birth control for low-income women. This provision was cut from the package because House Republicans refused to define such a provision as an economic stimulus. They argued that the Democrats were only trying to monopolize on the economic downturn and push their moral agenda, but the Republicans were wrong. The birth control provision would have helped to better living standard’s for those currently suffering - a goal of the stimulus plan. The allocation should have remained in the package

It’s not a question of moral agendas. It is simply a question of economics. The following examples illustrate the general principle on which I make my argument. If you have five miles2 of land and five people, each person gets one mile2 to live off of - this includes space to build a home and grow sustenance. But now imagine that you have ten people for the same five miles2, the amount of room and the amount of food available for each person gets cut in half. Suddenly, they are all worse off and their living standards have decreased. In the second example there were too many people trying to use the available resources and everybody suffered.

Currently, like the land available in the above example, the United States has a limited amount of resources available to assist struggling families. When a household loses its income, as many are doing in these economic times, the state carries the burden of allocating a part of the resources pie to the additional household. It makes it all the worse when parents incapable of providing for their family of four, become a family of five - in some cases not because they choose to but because they cannot afford any form of pregnancy prevention. The additional person represents an additional drain on the state’s resources. We can see this problem in the stimulus package passed on Wednesday. The House allocated billions of additional dollars to fund welfare services such as Medicaid, unemployment, and food stamps. As the number of people in need of these services increases with each additional child born, so does the cost to the state, and in reality, the tax payer. As the cost of these services continues to rise because of additional and sometimes unwanted births, tax payers suffer and money that could otherwise be used for other forms of economic stimulus is drained from the state.

The point is that by providing birth control to lower-income women, the state provides economic relief to everyone in society. Essentially, providing birth control has the same effect as providing the $275 billion in tax relief that Republicans insisted be part of the package. This conversation does not revolve around morality, but instead the serious economic hardship of a society deep into a recession.