Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Lexicon of Hope and Change Revisited

Here's the ongoing list of the new terminology of "hope and change."

Shared Sacrifice- the concept that only the wealthy-with the exception of prominent Democrats- and corporations should be required to sacrifice by shelling out ever increasing taxes. The other half the population will then share in their appropriated wealth. Also applies to cigarette and cigar smokers who have assumed the duty of providing health insurance to the children of people making up to 84 thousand a year.

Omnibus- A catchall denoting a vehicle for transporting pork to political constituencies. No need to worry about the stench. There's a provision to study that too.

Political Prisoner- the de facto replacement in the leftist view of things- in the absence of any forthcoming terminology- for "enemy combatant," the term coined by the verbally challenged and much maligned Bush administration to describe those who conspired against and/or killed Americans. Not to be confused with the "mercenaries" who also languish in Cuban jails for wielding not weapons but opinions.

Stimulus- “Stimulus” comes from the verb stimulare, which is Latin for “transfer massive sums of money from what remains of the dynamic sector of the economy to the special interests of the Democratic party.” No, hang on, my mistake. Stimulare means “to goad.” And, on that front, the Democrats are doing an excellent job. They’ve managed to goad 58 percent of the American people into opposing the “stimulus” package. They’ve managed to goad all 177 Republicans in the House into unpacking their mothballed cojones and voting against the bill. And they’ve managed to goad the rest of the world into ending the Obama honeymoon in nothing flat. Headline from the London Daily Telegraph: “US-EU Trade War Looms As Barack Obama Bill Urges ‘Buy American.’

-from Mark Steyn at NRO

Stimulus Bill- a means of foisting the forty year wish list Democrats were unable to pass on the American public-increased medical care for the children of the moderately well to do, increased cigarette and cigar taxes, increased funding for birth control, funding for a host of global warming initiatives, funding to computerize medical records, more funds for changing over television, etc...

Trojan Horse- see "stimulus bill."

Middle Class Task Force- a committee led by the Vice-President in charge of making the federal government as union friendly and employer antagonistic as possible.

Who's Allowed?

In something of an Abbot and Costello routine, quite a bit of the stealth Cuba provisions in the latest behemoth to pass through the congress is unclear. They were passed, but they're not going to be enacted. No, wait, the travel provisions will, but not the commercial stuff. I don't know. You can try to figure it out. Start at USA Today here.

What is clear is who can go. Under the old rules, only mother/father/ brother/sister could go or send money. This became problematic as the older generation of exiles died and the misery of the benighted island did not. Under the new rules, at least for travel to Cuba-

(b) For the purpose of this general license, the term close relative used with respect to any person means any individual related to that person by blood, marriage, or adoption who is no more than three generations removed from that person or from a common ancestor with that person.

Can't find guidance on cash remittances, yet.

How About a Joke?

Found this one in my email-

Bilingual Soda Machine

A Cuban in Miami goes to a Pepsi vending machine. It costs 60 cents. He puts 2 quarters and waits. The machine signals DIME. The Cuban whispers: "quiero una pepsi"!

Meanderings: Not This Week, Honey

One of those little things they leave out of Florida travel brochures is a little known phenomenon known as red tide. Most of the time, it doesn't look red. In fact, it's usually the coughing and the dead fish strewn about the beach that give it away. Fortunately, it's been a long time, maybe a few years, since it hit our shores. So why am I bringing it up?

Well, I'm a bit obsessed with the subject, having been traumatized by the year the red tide would not go away. My family thinks me somewhat crazed, but I'm convinced that the prolonged exposure did something to my head, literally. Ever since then when the season changes- whether it's the temperature, humidity, or pressure- I get the mother of all sinus headaches. And as migraine sufferers know, once the head goes, so does the stomach. Thus, I have literally been under the weather this week.

And so, as I sit and write this with a queasy stomach and and iron will, I must apologize for my absence this week and vow to be undeterred, hopefully.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Quote at Dawn

I think of a point a major foreign-policy official made to me, in December. He made it forcefully, and it left an impression on me: A lot of people failed to realize that, in going after President Bush and damaging him, they were damaging America more broadly, throughout the world. They may not have intended to do the latter; they may have intended only to hurt Bush. But they did more than that.
-Jay Nordlinger

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Literary Interlude: from "The Rocking Horse Winner"

Something about what's been going on reminded me of this from DH Lawrence's "The Rocking Horse Winner." Read it in its entirety here.

And so the house came to be haunted by the unspoken phrase: There must be more money! There must be more money! The children could hear it all the time though nobody said it aloud. They heard it at Christmas, when the expensive and splendid toys filled the nursery. Behind the shining modern rocking-horse, behind the smart doll's house, a voice would start whispering: "There must be more money! There must be more money!" And the children would stop playing, to listen for a moment. They would look into each other's eyes, to see if they had all heard. And each one saw in the eyes of the other two that they too had heard. "There must be more money! There must be more money!"

It came whispering from the springs of the still-swaying rocking-horse, and even the horse, bending his wooden, champing head, heard it. The big doll, sitting so pink and smirking in her new pram, could hear it quite plainly, and seemed to be smirking all the more self-consciously because of it. The foolish puppy, too, that took the place of the teddy-bear, he was looking so extraordinarily foolish for no other reason but that he heard the secret whisper all over the house: "There must be more money!"

The Slippery Slope of our Present Policies

Recently, some New Yorkers took to the streets to protest what they see as Draconian budget cuts. A look at some of the comments in this article is instructive.

"Governor Paterson, I wish you could have an open heart that we are going to suffer if this budget cut goes through," said China Lankford of Jamaica. [ One has to imagine that's Jamaica, Queens, otherwise it would seem pretty nervy.]

"You can't cut the budget the way it is and still have the quality we're aiming for," Altomare [a retired teacher] said.

"For those of you who prosper during boom time, we ask them pay a little bit more. Pay a little more so New York can avoid cutting the services that our most vulnerable need," United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said.

Ah, there it is. The last comment contains their demands:

They're asking for what they call "fair tax reform" -- raising state taxes for New Yorkers making $250,000 or more on top of the president's proposed hikes.

They want the state to follow the federal government's lead. Any New Yorker who makes above minimum wage is already contributing heftily to city coffers. New Yorkers are among the most heavily taxed and hardest hit in the nation. What is fair about asking people who already pay more than half of their income in federal, state and local taxes, not to mention the taxes built into their Con Ed and other utility bills, not to mention the 8 dollars the unfortunately addicted shell out for a pack of cigarettes to pay more. And here are these people who suck on the municipal teat in whatever form, since vulnerability has been turned into an industry in New York, demanding that yet more be taken. This way, the envy, covetousness, and mean-spiritedness of communism lies.

Meanderings: Today's Graffiti

I'm pretty much the political one around here. The hubster doesn't say much, but then he doesn't say much, period. I suppose I should have been clued in by his attitude toward voting, which he considers a civic duty. Picture Jimmy Buffet on line at the local synagogue.

His other endearing civic quirk is his love of the flag. Last year, he indulged himself and picked up a huge, and I mean huge, flagpole. In deference to my rather stridently expressed wishes, he sunk the pole, not in the ground, but in an over sized bucket of concrete. Nobody can see this expedient because of the lime green stockade fence he put up to avert the stares of the local Committee for the Defense of the Code, but that's another story.

Since inauguration day when he quietly went out in the middle of the day and retrieved his flag never to be raised again, he's addicted to Foxnews, both channels, punctuating whatever program with his obscenities. Now, I've given up documentaries. By now I could make a golf club or guitar or muck out a horse stall handily. I do like to watch CSI, Cold Case, etc.... I've also discovered these great little Canadian series like Davinci's Inquest and their Cold Case. To make a long story shorter, he refuses, insisting on watching the latest aberration with all the fascination of a gawker at a train wreck.

I'm the more philosophical one these days. It comes down to this. I believe that this administration has already overreached, shown their hand. I know, I know, about the popularity polls, but it's already demonstrated a level of incompetence that will surely sink in. I believe that many of these prescriptions are horribly wrong. Along the way, however, there are some good things that will be done. At the risk of sacrilege, I would venture that although some principles cannot be compromised, the actual process of governing should reflect the center, simply because that is the perch of the majority of citizens.

The beauty of this country is that nothing, not any administration, lasts forever. There will be another day. One could make a case that part of the reason that this administration is even possible is because we have forgotten what it was like when initiative was sapped and taxed, when entitlement destroyed the fabric of whole communities and spawned generations relegated to the underclass. I like to look at this as a reminder. The pendulum always swings both ways.