More budget insanity from Lane County, Oregon. The county threatens important cuts in public safety if the 2% tax isn’t passed (yes it starts at 1.1%, but how long do you think it will take before they raise it?). Yet what really is going on? They cite losing $20 million in Federal funds, and that sounds like a lot. But the dirty little secret is in a budget of almost $500 million, it’s only about 4% of the total. Yes, 4% (if you add in the missing federal road funds, the budget variance is 8%). For that they claim they’ll have to shut down programs, have massive layoffs and let criminals free? Insane. If they can’t handle a 4% budget variance they need to go back to management school.
Yesterday, Speaker Pelosi said a 30 minute phone call was sufficient for her briefing on Iraq, so she skipped other briefing opportunities. We hinted it might be perhaps because the Speaker’s mind is already made up and this isn’t really about policy, but politics. We can’t say for sure about the Speaker, but Harry “war-is-lost” Reid is definitely on Fantasy Island, stating he doesn’t believe information from General Petraeus saying the situation in Iraq is improving, revealing his hand is most definitely about politics, not policy.
As proof the fight over Iraq isn’t really about policy or military strategy but political maneuvering, this week Speaker Pelosi said she is unable to meet with General Petraeus to discuss Iraq. Huh? The leader of the House (and of the Democratic House majority) is too busy to discuss Iraq with the guy who knows what’s going on? How can she (or other Democrats) speak intelligently about options in Iraq when she’s so uninformed? Perhaps she doesn’t need the briefing because she’s already made up her mind and doesn’t want to be confused by facts — we can’t imagine a reason why the House Speaker would decline a briefing from the General on the ground who is best suited to report on the status in Iraq.
After any tragedy some people attempt to use it for political gain. Actions after 9/11 led to the Patriot Act (which many members of Congress passed without reading), and now after the tragedy at Virginia Tech the gun control lobby is at it again, attempting to take political advantage of the situation even before all the facts are known. But the real problem is groups denying the existence of evil; those who deny its existence have vastly different methods of handling these situations than those who know evil is real.
It appears many Democratic candidates are afraid of a debate because it’s hosted by (gasp!) Fox News. Besides their reasons being absurd, this decision reveals problems with their character as Jay Leno humorously points out:
Jay Leno: Well, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards as well as a number of other Democratic candidates say they will not participate in a presidential debate next month because the debate is on Fox News and Fox News is biased. Well, how are you going to stand up to terrorists when you’re afraid of Fox News? [audience laughter]
Under the we-told-you-so category, it turns out Congressional action to change daylight savings time didn’t really save any energy at all, causing many System Administrators a lot of trouble for no benefit.
As it turns out, the US Department of Energy (and almost everyone else except members of Congress) was correct when they predicted that there would be little energy savings. This echoed concerns voiced after a similar experiment was attempted in Australia. Critics pointed out a basic fact: the gains in the morning will be offset by the losses at night, and vice-versa, at both ends of the switch. That appears to be exactly what happened.
Today’s fiscal insanity award goes to Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, who says “We don’t have enough revenue” even as the Governor proposes spending increases of 20%. That’s right, a 20% increase in one fiscal cycle — and Mr. Courtney says it’s not enough. Can you say “huge tax increases”? How many of Oregon’s citizens got a 20% raise last year? Yet Mr. Courtney says even if you did, it belongs to the state — that and more!