Friday, June 29, 2007
“We apologize to our constituents for the oversight. But amid all the tax-cuts, and the cutting and privatization of state services, we forgot to implement this list of fixes,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop.
Republicans want Governor Granholm to agree to all the items on their list before they will consider a tax increase of any kind. They suggested she mull the items over while the Senate takes a two-week vacation.
Asked why these items weren’t all implemented during the John Engler Administration, Senator Bishop replied, “We did a lot of things that were good for us, including the Roger's Law. Unfortunately, we didn’t fix our spending problem, even though we said we did. This list is our final step in doing so. After this, I swear, there won’t be anything left to reform or cut. We will have the bare bones government the citizens of Michigan want and deserve...Until we privatize all public education that is.”
Among the cuts and reforms on the Republicans’ list are a pay freeze for all state employees, a freeze on a new state earned income tax credit for low-income workers, a change in work requirements for welfare recipients, and the privatization of part of the prison system.
Acknowledging that the list makes Republicans look irresponsible or even downright forgetful, Senator Bishop said he was confident though that Michigan voters would understand and forgive them. “They know how hard we work on their behalf.”
Senator Bishop then added, “Anything the Governor and my buddy Speaker Dillon could do to help us implement these items would be a big help not only to [Republicans], but to me especially when I run for Governor in 2010.”
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Not only is [the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy] a wholly remarkable book, it is also a highly successful one–more popular than the Celestial Home Care Omnibus, better selling than Fifty-three More Things to Do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Coluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters, Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who Is This God Person Anyway?and I feel absolutely no need to read anything by that Hitchens person anyway. I'm sure the "Hitchhiker's Guide" sells much better than "God Is Not Great."
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
At-Will Legislative Calendar
Senate Republicans today passed a measure designed to increase their productivity by not locking their chamber into a set calendar, allowing them to break for vacation or recess at the will of the chamber. Their next break, despite a large number of unresolved budgetary issues, commences Thursday June 28. Senator Mike Bishop indicated he is not interested in canceling his vacation to resolve the budget issues, even though it leaves school districts around the state scrambling to approve monies for the next fiscal year without knowing how much revenue the state will actually provide.
Meanwhile, the Senate also passed a measure requiring intermediate school districts and their member schools to adopt a single, common school calendar, with defined breaks for Holidays.
Asked about the chances of passing the At-Will Calendar and the Common School Calendar bills in the House of Representatives, a spokesman for Speaker Andy Dillon said, “It's too early to comment on the legislation.”
Michigan Not Exotic Enough to be Junket Destination
Sen. Michelle McManus says Michigan is not a junket destination. The issue arose when asked about a charter fishing trip she and several other lawmakers are taking next week, paid for by the Michigan Legislative Sportsmen's Foundation. McManus, who chairs the Senate Campaign and Election Oversight Committee, said, "Let's be clear: This is a donation from the charter boat fishermen. It would be no different than if a friend offered to take me out (fishing)."
"If I was going to go on a junket, I'd go to Hawaii and all those other places with everyone else,” she said.
Asked whether he or other Democrats would accept such a sport fishing trip, a spokesman for Speaker Dillon said, “No comment.”
Reward for Missing Spine
Michigan House Democrats made the stunning announcement today that their Leadership’s Spine was missing. Anyone with information leading to its recovery will be eligible for a cash reward of $20,000.
When asked how the spine of the Democratic House Leadership could be missing in the first place, Speaker Dillon said through a spokesman, “I’m not going to comment on an ongoing search and rescue mission.”
Despite the seeming urgency, canceling vacations to look for their spine would be a waste of time now said Rep. George Cushingberry because there wasn’t enough interest in doing so. "I don't know what the point is.” He also pointed out that the Senate is going on vacation. So if the Senate is going on vacation, the House might as well, too.
Anyone with information on the missing spine is encouraged to contact the House Leadership.
No Spokesman Necessary
In related news, Speaker Dillon fired his spokesman. In a written statement he said, “Whenever I am asked how I respond to the latest criticism leveled at the Governor by Senator Mike Bishop, or what I think about any other matter, it is far easier to for me to simply say No Comment than it is to waste taxpayer dollars paying someone to say it.”
Asked how he thought the increased spokesman duties would impose on his already busy workload, Speaker Dillon said, “I'm not going to comment on personnel issues.”
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Relevant Work Experience: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Location: Lansing, MI
The Michigan Republican Party is a rapidly growing, cutting edge, political organization based in the state capitol of Lansing, focused on three things: increasing its membership, widening the reach of its influence, and winning elections. We will accomplish our goals by demanding smaller government at the expense of needed services, decrying illegal immigration while allowing our corporate contributors to employ illegal immigrants, denying homosexuals the right to anything but conversion therapy, and claiming the ongoing Iraqi Civil War is the forward march of democracy.
As a Copy Editor you will edit the State Republican Party Chairman’s blog posts before they go on the web site every day, sometimes 7 days a week. (No comment monitoring will be necessary as the Republican Party does not believe commentary is necessary on the party’s site. That function has been outsourced to the Detroit News web site at considerable savings.) You must be able to work in a fast-paced reactionary environment and have knowledge of Microsoft Word and web development tools (Dreamweaver, etc.). Experience with strident spastic shriekers is a plus. Previous membership in the YAF is an even bigger plus.
- Nominal English writing ability. No writing samples are necessary.
- A passion for the Party Message, oversimplifying concepts, and confounding readers’ understanding of political problems and processes.
- An ability to work passively with other employees as a part of a team.
- An appreciation for unique forms of punctuation.
- An incurious mind without the capacity to think critically.
- An ability to communicate stridently with others.
Persons who have previously held this position have gone on to greater prestige as fact-checkers for such distinguished Republican party supporters as Michael Savage and Rush Limbaugh, and the scrupulous speechwriters of President George W. Bush.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
This stack doesn’t necessarily represent my priorities, though the ones at the top are the ones I’m most likely to read first. That could change based on a whim. Here they are and why they're in my pile.
Boy Gets Girl by Rebecca Gilman - I haven’t seen any of Gilman's plays yet. I picked up Blue Surge at a used book store, tore through it, and parts of it still linger in my mind. So I went back and bought Boy Gets Girl.
The Salon by Nick Bertozzi - Read a spirited review of it in the Sun-Times and ordered it. I read the first 30 or so pages and was transfixed by its images and its humor. Then put it down because I was still reading another book that I needed to finish and review first. The only graphic novels I’ve read so far are Persepolis 1 and 2 by Marjane Satrapi. (Those are excellent.) I was not a comic book kid. Skatepunks were into comic books and graphic novels. Metalheads like me were into Dungeons and Dragons and science fiction. But based on the Gen-Xers and Gen-Yers who review movies and books these days, it seems not to many of us old Metalheads ever climbed their way into the upper echelons of the Culture Critics.
The Iceman Cometh by Eugene O’Neil - Impulse checkout at the library while picking up a few children’s books to read to my 2-year-old son. Haven’t seen it performed or read it before. Feel like I should because I liked Long Day’s Journey into Night and O’Neil is one of the giants of American Drama.
The Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry - Classic political thriller about a CIA agent who thinks the Vietnamese were behind the JFK assassination. So far it’s a fun and highly intriguing read. I got the hardcover first edition at a used book store this past weekend for 5 bucks. You can see the price tag on the spine.
Divine Days by Leon Forrest - This beast of a tome (1100 pages) has been my “Currently Reading” book for months now. It is rich, dense, bawdy, astute, Faulknerian, and Joycean all at once. It can not be read quickly. My initial reaction is that it’s the final gasp of Modernism as developed and practiced by Faulkner and Joyce. Besides, it’s set in Chicago by a Chicago writer, and I’ve been doing my best to read anything by and about my home city. (Would still like to get to Sara Peretzky.)
The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy - This mention by Maud Newton made me order it. It is published by the New York Review Books, which is an excellent source of rescued books that deserve to be in print.
Words Without Borders - This anthology put out by the people behind the web site Words Without Borders was an impulse pick up by me a month or so ago at Everybody Reads Bookstore. I've been dipping into it occasionally and so far, the handful of stories I’ve read have only made me wish that those authors' complete works had already been translated into English...so that I could buy them and add them to my TBR pile.
At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches by Susan Sontag - read this review in PopMatters and combined with that amazing essay by her in the Guardian (no longer available on their site), I bought it.
Oh Pure and Radiant Heart by Lydia Millet - Bought directly from Softskull Press (along with Everyone’s Pretty) when they were having their Being Bought Out Sale. I liked Everyone’s Pretty. So I have high hopes for this one.
Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys - Because my friend Sarah Kate Levy has an essay in it. So far I’ve only read her essay, which was very good, funny, and tender. When I was at USC, I was in the same poetry class as one of the anthology's editors Tom Dolby, who wrote the novel The Trouble Boy. (His poetry was much better than mine.)
The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy - I visited Montreal last summer and read Mordechai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Then I wanted to read some Quebecois writers. Yes, in English because my French is nowhere near good enough to tackle a whole novel.
The Known World by Edward P. Jones - Much-revered work published only a few years ago.
Dear Digby by Carol Muske-Dukes - My wife picked this up for me a year ago from the USC bookstore, before we left L.A.
A House for Mr. Biswas by V. S. Naipaul - Been meaning to read something by Naipaul for some time...
Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros - Her early book The House on Mango Street is a classic that I have enjoyed reading a few times.
Gates of the Sun by Elias Khoury - Palestinian writer whose 1998 book was recently translated. We don’t get much opportunity in the States to read works in translation. So I jumped at this highly-recommended one.
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner - I’ve read it before. But this book can not be reread enough. I’ve been known to reread just the Addie Bundren section.
And so when Cora Tull would tell me I was not a true mother, I would think how words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless, and how terribly doing goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other; and that sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words. Like Cora, who could never even cook.A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain - This is on loan from my sister. She’s going to want it back at some point. Kitchen Confidential was fantastic. And I love Bourdain’s show on the Travel Channel “No Reservations.”
So, how many is that? 18.
Shoot. I forgot Clayhanger by Arnold Bennett. An English friend loaned this to me a few months ago. Not sure when I’m going to get to this one either. Argh. That makes 19.
This past weekend a former professor of mine from undergrad recommended Tolstoy’s Anna Karennina. Which I still haven’t read. There are a number of classics I haven’t read...I won’t list them here...Which just leads me to think and despair, as always, that there is never enough time to read all of the books I want to read...
Back to my pile. I've got to make it lower.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Okay, I've killed enough time this morning playing this game.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
I wrote recently that I believe newspapers, despite their current hard times, will ultimately survive. I think the print edition will probably endure to some extent, but, without any doubt, the future of daily journalism is digital, not because it is the latest thing, but because it is, quite simply, a far better medium than paper and ink.
He goes on to say.
The old idea of reporters covering a beat might well be replaced by an online reporter/editor who oversees a subject area driven by the entire community—a constantly updating police blotter or transit map, for instance. Digital thinkers refer to this as a pro-am (professional-amateur) model, in which the reporter is corrected, tipped off and guided—just as I was with “Black Hawk Down”—by the expertise of his readers. Blog sites offer a rudimentary working model.
Old fuddy-duddies like me will still want their news on paper and in the driveway every morning, but we won’t live forever, and already two of the biggest newspapers in America—the New York Times and the Washington Post—are reaching more customers online than in print.
Monday, June 18, 2007
MPs said the honour was an insult to the religious sentiments of Muslims. In the eastern city of Multan, hardline Muslim students burned effigies of the Queen and Rushdie, chanting "Kill Him! Kill Him!"
But they're not the only ones pissed off.
Yesterday, Iranian politicians accused Britain of insulting Islam by awarding a knighthood to Rushdie, who was forced into hiding for a decade after the country's late spiritual leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa calling for his assassination.
Mohammad Ali Hosseini, a spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, said the decision to honour the novelist was an orchestrated act of aggression directed against Islamic societies.
Who says novelists aren't considered dangerous?
I still have yet to read The Satanic Verses. I've only read Midnight's Children and The Moor's Last Sigh. The former was amazing, the latter pretty good.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
But the proposal is tied to changing the term-limits so that legislators can serve longer.
Just what problem or problems is this proposal supposed to solve? I am not the only asking this. Senator Mark Schauer asked: "What problem are we trying to fix?"
This editorial from the Jackson Citizen-Patriot enumerates many of the supposed benefits.
- Start with the obvious: It'll save money. There are 148 senators and representatives who each make nearly $80,000. Cut their pay by a conservative one-third...As we all tighten our belts, there's a symbolic value in seeing those who represent us do the same.
But if we only cut their pay by a third, are they really part-time? It's not such an easy thing to define. Just look here. If you read on down the NCSL Backgrounder, you'll see that Michigan, a high population state has a full-time legislature like other high population states with diverse economies and different population densities.
- It addresses the term-limits problem.
- It would force legislators to focus on the important issues. Just look at the ongoing budget mess to see the downside of a House and Senate with too much time on their hands.
BTW, does anyone need to be reminded that it was the Republican-controlled House and Senate that voted to repeal the Single Business Tax (SBT) a year ago? Yet, only within the last month or so have we seen the Republicans finally propose a replacement for it. You'd think they would have had that thought out before they voted to get rid of the SBT. This is also contributing to the stalled budget process. How would a part-time legislature have addressed this particular problem differently? It wouldn't.
Also, if they're part-time, what will they do the rest of the time? Work a job? Really? They will? What job is that where you can take an annual leave of absence of months on end to do something else? And don't forget election time. Those part-time legislators will need time off for that, too. I'm sure there are plenty of employers who will be willing to let one of their workers take an extra extended leave every few years to campaign for their other job. Sounds reasonable to me...Hardly.
The only people who will be able to work as a part-time legislator are the self-employed, the business owner, or the independently wealthy. Not exactly a representative pool of qualified people from the population. It would be anything but the citizen-legislature. The whole point of a full-time legislature is that the public gives them full means of support to serve the people, without conflict of interest.
There is not a problem facing this state that can be solved by shifting to a part-time legislature. Though there are plenty of problems that have been exacerbated by term limits.
This part-time legislature proposal smacks of the kind of knee-jerk thinking behind term limits. The thinking that went, "I hate your guy and think he has too much power and he's corrupt anyway. Term limits will fix this because it will get him out of office." In other words, it's about not liking how other people continue to vote despite what you think. But only the part-time legislature concept appeals to the We Hate Government crowd, by supposedly making smaller and less intrusive the government made up of all those hated politicians.
A part-time legislature and term limits just make attempts to fix democracy by hampering it. a blanket repeal of the term-limits is the only reform that appeals to me.
Look, regular readers of this blog know I am no fan of Senator Mike Bishop. Making him work part-time won't make him go away or fix the current budget stalemate. But if the people of his district want to continue to vote for him and keep him in the Senate for as many terms as they want, I think they should be able to do just that. Meanwhile, I'd keep voting to send Mark Meadows (D) to the House and Gretchen Whitmer (D) to the Senate because I'm more than pleased with their work on my behalf. That's democracy. It's messy. It's imperfect. As Winston Churchill said, "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."
Monday, June 11, 2007
Thankfully, a blogger took the time to visit and describe in detail (with pictures) what can be found there. I'm not sure whether to laugh or yell.
In case you want to visit, here are the admission prices;
* Adult (13-59 yrs) $19.95
* Senior (60 yrs & up) $14.95
* Children (5-12 yrs) $9.95
* Children (under 5 yrs) Free
Update: You can never underestimate human being's capacity for ignorance. Especially here in the U.S.A., the most powerful technologically advanced society in human history. According to this Gallup poll,
Now thinking about how human beings came to exist on Earth, do you, personally, believe in evolution, or not?
2007 May 21-24
Yes, it's pretty much 50/50, an actual horse race. So far it's Evolution over Creationism by a nose...place your bets!
Saturday, June 9, 2007
I've gotten to thinking about this nasty phrase during the past few days because of Daily Kos getting livid over a very bad environmental bill sponsored by Rep. Dingell (D-MI), calling him an obtuse arrogant scumbag. This was then followed up with a loooooong discussion on Michigan Liberal over a comment made in the DK discussion about Dingell to the effect that the Big-Three Auto companies can rot and die blah, blah, blah.
While I sympathize with the frustration. I sympathize more with the workers at the Big Three who are at the mercy of what has often been bad management. The Big Three have had over 25 years to adjust to the Japanese and now they are rapidly trying to play catch-up as their SUV/Big Truck profit plan is starting to erode, given that $4/gallon for gas is an eventuality in the near future.
You'll notice I have a link to DailyKos on my blogroll. But truth be told, I hardly read DK. Why? Because it's too much trouble to wade through the rants to get to the good stuff. (Or the good stuff is covered up in a particularly juvenile rant, like the Dingell post.) I think DK is important and does a great job for what it's for: progressive activism and whipping up support for that activism. Does the hot-headedness get the best of them sometimes when it comes to their posts and the discussion of ideas? Yes. Too often for my taste. And every once in awhile, that East/West Coast disdain for the rest of the country rears its ugly head, like just a few days ago.
It can not be said enough how stupid, short-sighted, and counterproductive to progressives all over this country this kind of attitude is. Yes, there are differences that unfortunately foster some mutual disdain. Hence, the term “DK Dummies” or “limousine liberals” or “liberal elite.” Whatever.
I grew up just outside of Chicago in a working class suburb. Soon after my wife and I first moved to L.A., I had my first run-in with West Coast Provincial thinking. A self-proclaimed “3rd-generation Californian” asked me, “So, what do you think of all our diversity?” Realizing she hadn’t the slightest clue about Chicago or the Midwest, I told her that believe it or not Chicago is very diverse and that Illinois is second only to California in numbers of Mexican immigrants. She was genuinely surprised. It would not be my last run-in with this Flyover Country Attitude.
My reply to people on the coast who used the term Flyover Country was that they should get used to losing elections to Republicans, that they needed to make an effort to understand how people make a living in the middle of the country. But their reply to that was well they shouldn't be so dumb to vote for Republicans in the first place. As if voting/being a Republican was a sign of stupidity or willful ignorance. (For me the sign is ignoring the scientific fact that is Evolution and instead believing an all-powerful deity created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. We all have our biases.) And I would say by virtue of that very statement they had betrayed their patronizing attitude towards people in the middle of the country; they didn’t care about them and only wanted them to vote the way they thought was self-evident to them, without making any attempt to understand why the people in the middle of the country were thinking the way they did.
Just the same, there are many in the middle of the country who can not fathom New Yorkers suffering a terrorist attack and then voting overwhlemingly for someone as wishy-washy and turgid-talking as Kerry instead of Bush for President of the United States. (I voted for Kerry, even though the man drives me up the wall with the fact that he is incapable of speaking a simple declarative sentence. It’s like he read too much Michel Foucoult. Couple that with the direct correlation between time spent in the Senate and increasing pompousness and ability to drone on and on, and you have a recipe for alienating voters. See Joe Biden. Give Obama a few more terms in the Senate and he won't be so eloquent and lucid.)
These differences between people on the Coasts and the Big Middle have just as much to do with class and culture as it does the region in which they live. Of course, all three do go together. Seemingly unrelated, yesterday I came across a link to this insightful essay, “Now I Work in that Factory You Live In” by the poet Diane Kendig, courtesy of one of the best book blogs, Bookslut. In it Kendig talks about becoming class conscious and dealing with the assumptions many in academia have toward students and people from the working class. I have to say that based on my experiences in USC’s MPW program, I had the shock of recognition. I had similar experiences in undergrad, but I became very class conscious, sometimes uncomfortably so, at USC. But that is for another post...But there is a true lack of understanding the working class by many people on the coasts.
What I mean to say in this rambling post is that progressives on the coasts and in the Big Middle of the country have mutual interests in seeing the Big Three survive. But the only way they will flourish is by producing cars that are fuel efficient and have low emissions, and having a stake in a new energy economy. This will in turn give jobs to workers here and give us the kinds of cars we need now that the days of cheap gas are over for the people of the U.S.A.
As we know all too well here in Michigan, the Ripple Effect from the Big Three is extremely large. If they go down, so goes a good chunk of this country, not just Michigan. Just as it's in no one's interest to see New Orleans get destroyed and die, it is in no one's interest to see the Big Three falter and go out of business.
Coddling the big Three as Dingell attempted to do, would not have helped. Did he deserve the merits of the criticism from DK and others? Yes. Did he deserve to be called an obtuse arrogant scumbag? No. Does that mean he deserves to be in Congress? Yes, as long as the voters in his district think so. And I see nothing wrong with making him sweat a little by giving him a challenger in the primary next year. That's democracy.
But using one bad proposal by Dingell as an excuse to slam the entire state of Michigan is as ignorant as flippantly referring to the Big Middle as Flyover Country. We should have no tolerance for this kind of ignorance. The stakes for our country are too high, given the health of the world environment, our dependence on oil, and the intense pressures of the world market. Anything that can be manufactured in another country more cheaply will be. This is global capitalism. The U.S. helped create this system, and now we're at its mercy. We can only survive by working together. The snide need not apply.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
A high-resolution, 3-D copy of the entire 645-page parchment book, plus a searchable transcription, will be made available online under a Creative Commons license.
The Venetus A is the oldest existing copy of Homer's Iliad and the primary source for all modern editions of the poem. It lives in Venice at the ancient Public Library of St. Mark. It is easily damaged. Few people have seen it. The last photographic copy was made in 1901.
You can see some of the images here.
It's part of the Homer Multitext Project at Harvard University.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
I think my favorite lyrics are "ICEE Dems" and "potato wave."
BTW, the Hendrix picture at the beginning is a nice touch, since the song borrows so heavily from "Little Wing."
As a writer, I say, let the language continue to evolve.
Back in March, the OED added these words and more as part of its quarterly online update:
C-section, n. (why did it take so long?)
fuck-off, n. (ditto)
irritainment, n. (I'm going to try to use this one)
Tae-Bo, n. (about 5 years too late)
Friday, June 1, 2007
Now that I've had time to consider it, all I can say is how utterly irresponsible this deal sounds.
With over 60% of the electorate saying they believe a tax increase is necessary to solve the budget crisis, why Andy Dillon doesn't have the spine to push one through right now with the wind at his back, I'll never know. It makes me wonder how the hell he got the job as Speaker of the House in the first place. You mean there isn't another House Democrat who could be an effective leader? Someone who could stand up to a whiny thug like Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop? Please.
Effectively, Bishop is running our state. Which would be fine if he showed any long-term thinking or complex understanding when it comes to how to manage Michigan's shift from a manufacturing-based economy to one based on services. But he hasn't, despite his international education. He wants "tax cuts" and "jobs now." Well, don't we all? But shouting both repeatedly doesn't make those things magically appear. Besides, there have been tax cuts since Engler, and as yet no net increase in jobs. Sounds like we need a better idea or two or three.
Senator Bishop did have the heart to tell Jack Lessenberry that no one is happy about the cuts to higher education. Even so, that choice means he (along with Speaker Dillon and Governor Granholm) would rather take steps toward crippling the state's path to rejuvenation than fund our universities at the level they and their students deserve. Especially when these universities contribute so much to the development of the state at a rate competitive with North Carolina's famed Research Triangle.
Governor Granholm, after her big win over Dick Devos, talked about about a tax on services (after she had someone else leak/announce it) to fund education and retraining programs...but then she didn't push all that hard for it and she let herself get blindsided by Speaker Dillon's lack of support. Either she didn't know Dillon would do that to her, or she didn't square it with him before introducing the idea. We all make mistakes, but neither scenario displays a whole lot of political acumen.
I know I am not the only Liberal Democrat who wonders if Speaker Dillon is a member of the Democratic party. (Just read the various comments on Michigan Liberal any time Dillon's name pops up.) Because from his behavior and the way he has (not) led the House Democrats it seems like the House is controlled by the Senate Republicans. It's as if Dillon asks Senator Bishop if it's okay to introduce a given piece of legislation first before doing it. How else to explain this amateurish budget deal that rests on dipping into tobacco money now (for less of it later) and uses cuts and delayed payments to universities (thus making sure that next year's budget is already in the hole). For someone with years of experience in the world of high finance and private equity firms, his aquiescence to such a poorly-conceived budget makes me question the wisdom of anyone entrusting either their money or their firm to his financial judgement.
That the governor is going to sign off on this junk deal that sends our state's bond rating closer to junk bond status (while no replacement for the SBT is yet at hand) is downright irresponsible, no matter what she says now. That the highly-respected Cherry helped negotiate this "solution" is no cause to feel secure either. It just means this caving in to Republicans shouting "No" to a tax increase has infected a large chunk of the Democratic party.
This lack of spine is also characteristic at the national level, too, with the Democrats in Congress giving Bush a blank check to continue the neo-con nightmare in Iraq despite what the public and the facts tell us. We give the Democrats a mandate and they still don't quite believe they should run with it.
Yeats was right about this: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." But there sure isn't a Second Coming or rebirth at hand. Just more muddling toward mediocrity, leaving citizens to wonder just who won last November's election.