cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Guns are in the news, and seemingly have been in the news forever and a day. There are several things at work here, in my opinion.
Congress continues to work its way through the muck of health care and health insurance reform. This has been an arduous process and rightly so since it impacts every person in our country. This has not been a pretty process since politics is not pretty, and since this is all about politics and virtually nothing about our health care.
As the citizens began to gain an understanding of what was or wasn't included, and about where we were being pushed, an amazing transformation began taking place in our country. Where we had earlier been able to gain access to some of the specifics involved, and whereas that permitted some citizen-based debate, we find ourselves largely shut out of the details today.
The battle of the Red Swamp Crayfish continues with the DNR and UW providing information and educated people to guide this process. Some 1,200 to 1,500 have now been caught, and the females caught recently are carrying eggs. In addition, some young crayfish are being caught in the 120 or so live traps that are scattered along the pond shoreline in Esquire Estates.
Saturday morning saw new reinforcements arrive with the task of erecting a barrier that stands about 30 inches tall and which is anchored to wooden stakes placed every 6 to 8 feet along the shoreline. The materials were funded by the DNR and the bulk of the labor was provided by some 25 Esquire Estates residents. Since the DNR has advised us that we'll be responsible for 25% of whatever costs are realized, the labor we provided will be taken from that "bill".
The Senate Finance Committee finished its work at 2AM on Friday morning and sent the package off to the Congressional Budget Office for their work to estimate the costs involved. All is well...or is it?
Some of those devilish details have begun to surface and they are problematic for most of us. Let's begin with Medicare:
The so-called role models on the national stage have pretty much let us all down. Certainly we wouldn't want our children to emulate those Hollywood types, or some of the scumbags on Wall Street or many of those who sit in the hallowed halls of Congress. The people we see on television all too often are not what they'd like us to believe.
The Internet exposes us to the seamier side of life if we're not careful, and sometimes even when we are very careful.
The seemingly 'age old' debate about health care continues with politicians and electors refusing to learn from past mistakes. There are ample opportunities for our elected officials to learn what happens when various things are decreed. There are a number of state "test tubes" that provide ready evidence of what doesn't work.
TennCare in Tennessee didn't work and nearly wrecked the system that had been in place. Dirigio in Maine didn't work. The Massachusetts connector (Romney Care) isn't working in spite of the protestations by Massachusetts' politicians. New Jersey has among the highest health care costs in our nation following mandates that it required a decade or more ago.
All this talk about health care must've made me hungry.
I have been a big fan of cheeseburgers even though I try to limit the urge to no more than one a week. I saw the kick-off ad campaign for McDonald's new Angus burgers and wondered how they would stack up against some of my favorites. I am particularly attracted to bacon cheeseburgers.
The only thing one can say about the awarding of the Nobel Peace prize to President Barack Obama is that it must've been made "on the come".
Obama was president for less than two weeks when the February 1st deadline for nominations ended. That he had some profound impact on peace in the world in that short a time is ridiculous. The Nobel committee charged with this deliberation re-labels itself as an ultra-liberal group in a very bold manner with this selection.
Admittedly, my youthful days in school are long past, but Columbus Day, when we honored the man who 'discovered' America has apparently changed.
I understand that Christopher Columbus is no longer to be revered for his daring and bravery. He has been determined to have been a bully and a tyrant who actually brought disease to the indigenous inhabitants of the land we now live in and on.
For the moment at least, it all comes down to this: will there be a Republican vote today in favor of the Senate Finance Committee bill on health insurance reform? Note that we have come from health CARE reform to health INSURANCE reform. Note that "bipartisan" is now defined as one Republican vote. If that vote is cast, it will almost certainly have come from Olympia Snow (R-ME) who has been a fence-sitter ever since coming to the Senate.
We are witnessing the 'sausage-making' political process at, what I would offer, is about its worst. The process has devolved over time as the political sands shifted. We moved from high-minded rhetoric to the "just get 'er done" phase as the various proposals crumbled under their own fiscal weight. We are seeing a committee vote on something that has yet to be written in the legislative language where devils and details cavort. We all know that we're being 'sheltered from the truth' (since calling politicians liars is not proper apparently).
The Committee of the Whole (Village Board but not a formal Board meeting) reviewed the proposed budget for the coming year during a meeting this past Monday evening. Dave Schornack and Kim Rath presented the initial proposed budget that added increased costs to current levels and it came in at a rate increase of some 3.7%.
The 3.7% rate increase would amount to between $4.00 and $5.00 per month on the average home in Germantown, and would enable the village to maintain current levels of service. Recognizing that there have been something on the order of 17 positions eliminated already, this seems to be a very reasonable budget proposal even given the current economy.
Among the biggest surprises yesterday was the position adopted by the Milwaukee Police Chief and District Attorney John Chisholm. They made the argument for Wisconsin moving to a concealed carry status opining that this would help them in the fight against those who carry weapons today without regard to the law.
The theory espoused was that, if the law were to be changed so that concealed carry was okay, they'd have the ability to assure that those with guns were qualified and without records as felons. They would seek the change to make unauthorized carrying of a weapon a felony. This combination would, from their perspectives, give them a better toolset with which to go after the thugs who are
openly carrying and using guns on the streets of Milwaukee virtually every day of the year.
Are you feeling stimulated? Have your unemployed neighbors, or you for that matter, found employment? Do plant closings and the outflow of jobs seem to indicate that we've turned a corner? If so, have we moved to a better place or not?
One of the answers to these questions would be yes, if you are employed by the taxpayers. That seems to be indicated from a study released in Madison showing that the bulk of identifiable jobs having been created or "saved" were state employee positions.
Our debate over health care and how it ought to be reformed has devolved to the point where the kettle is calling the pot black.
Some in the government are using deceptive practices to make us think this will be cost-neutral or even save money over the long pull. That is a blatant falsehood. That relies on us "suspending our disbelief" as one candidate for president said recently.
It has been difficult to miss the growing furor over the Obama Administration's pointed side-stepping of the Fox News cable network over the past weeks.
The Administration was all over the television spectrum yesterday explaining how bad Fox News was, and just how it was going to treat them...as "the opposition". Fox News, of course, billing itself as "fair and balanced" since its inception, has set up this dust up, and appears to be enjoying increased viewership as the result. The regular alphabet channels and cable outlets have seen diminishing viewership for some time; interestingly that seems to parallel the span of time in which Fox has been in existence.
The trustees came together last night as the Committee of the Whole to further discuss the budget for 2010. Department heads testified regarding their areas of responsibility and the potential cuts if a "zero increase" budget were to be approved by the Board. This was a confusing meeting; it was apparent that not all the trustees have a good grip on the budgeting process and that not all trustees are as concerned with some aspects as those in attendance seemed to be.
My first reaction was to think that Governor Doyle and the Democrat majority in Madison had "sucked all the oxygen out of the room". The state has placed all government entities beneath them in a precarious position. State funding to counties and to the communities in those counties has been cut too far and too quickly, and the limits imposed by the state on finding funds is too tight at this point. The state continues to spend more and more and to push the "hurt" downhill to the lesser levels of government.
Has the Democrat Senate lost its will on health care?
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) was given a solid blow to the gut yesterday when his 'cure' for Medicare was defeated on a procedural vote with 13 Democrats voting against it. The vote dealt with Medicare physician reimbursements and may well have cost the Democrats the support of physicians for any health care reform measure this year.
Among the potential cost-cutting changes suggested by at least one member of the Village Board was the elimination of the Germantown Police Department by replacing it with a Washington County Sheriff's Department contract. This was thought to be a way in which the budget numbers could be lowered without seriously affecting village safety.
Jackson is in the midst of just such a decision-making process and might serve as a 'test tube' for Germantown to observe. Pewaukee is another such community and it is also nearing a decision involving a contract with the Waukesha Sheriff's Department.
Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of HHS proclaims that there will be more than enough doses of H1N1 vaccine in time to thwart the "Swine Flu" threat. She goes further to say that the U.S. will share its vaccine with other countries.
Then, we see the pictures of all the people standing in line and learn that there is not sufficient vaccine available, and that we are in the midst of the greatest threat and that our government has failed to deliver what it promised.
A series of items caught my eye this morning...
Almost Anything Goes...
The health care deal working its way through Congress has so many moving parts that it is questionable if anything substantive will pass both the House and the Senate.
The push and pull of the liberal Democrats versus the Blue Dog Democrats and the impact this has on the moderate Republicans who could tip the balance is virtually unheard of at the level at which it is occurring.
Nancy Pelosi spoke glowingly of being humble and simultaneously proud of the complete House health care bill. All four reams of it. A ream, if you're unfamiliar, holds 500 sheets of paper. The usual copier-quality paper reams measure two inches think per ream. So, we have a new House bill that measures nearly eight inches thick. Do you really think that our elected representatives will read that before they vote?
It has received a CBO "score" that puts its ten-year cost at something just south of $900 Billion. That, of course is a bogus number. That number does not take into account the $250 Billion that will be voted on as a separate bill that rewards doctors and hospitals for joining the 'circus' parade in support of this monstrosity. That number doesn't include the $500 Billion of cuts to be made to Medicare funding. That number does not reflect the certain increase in insurance premiums that will result from the added benefits to be included in the "plans". That number does not include the money taken from us in new taxes all during the first two to three years while we do not gain any benefit since the plans don't really start until 2013 after the next presidential election.