My Daily Rant – October 29, 2008

Promises Promises

by The Tall Twin

On CNN on Tuesday, Campbell Brown said on her new show, No Bias, No Bull, that Senator Barack Obama has broken a promise. On the face of it, she is correct, but with all due respect, so what?

The promise in question was actually a response to a questionnaire sent to all of the primary candidates last November. It came from the Midwest Democracy Network, which is made up of nonpartisan government oversight groups. Apparently only two candidates (Obama and McCain) bothered to fill out and return the form. At the time Senator Obama said that if he were the Democratic nominee he would, “aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.”

That was then and this is now. One thing about Obama is that he’s a fast learner. The tough primary campaign taught him many lessons. By the time he became the Democratic nominee he could see what he was up against and what tactics might be used against him. Think about it this way. While planning a trip to Europe you sign up to swim the English Channel wearing a bikini. When you get there you see that the water is freezing and full of sharks. Would you go ahead with the plan or would you rethink your strategy?

Palin unmasked

Palin unmasked

Once he became the nominee it was obvious to Senator Obama that millions of mostly small donations would be better than funds from a broken public financing system. It was a leap of faith and a good economic choice. He decided not to “aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee.” He did, however, keep his promise to the American people to refuse money from registered lobbyists. His supporters have responded by donating an astounding amount of money,* while taxpayers who do not support him haven’t had to help pay for his campaign.

And by the way, Senator McCain pledged to run an honorable campaign. So much for promises!!



micro-donor n. A person who donates a small amount of money to a political campaign or other cause. Also: microdonor.
micro-donation n.

Example Citation:
Meanwhile in Chicago, Obama’s elite high-end fund-raisers, his National Finance Committee, met Thursday for strategy sessions.Obama has developed an army of micro-donors during his campaign.
—Lynn Sweet, “Obama passes on public money,” Chicago Sun Times, June 20, 2008
Posted on October 28, 2008

My Daily Rant – October 21

Joe the Everyman

by The Tall Twin

“You see, [Obama] believes in redistributing wealth, not in policies that help us all make more of it. Joe in his plainspoken way, said this sounded a lot like socialism.” – John McCain

It seems that Joe the Plumber has given birth to an army of “everypersons.” Now Governor Palin is talking about Tito the Builder. I can see the action figures lining the shelves at toy stores. They come with removable tool belts and a set of real, working power tools (batteries not included).

I agree with the concept. The time has come to recognize the American everyperson as the hero he or she truly is. I think the lineup should be extended. How about Joanna the Single Mom? Greta and Hank the Retirees living on a pension, Josh the Student Loan Seeker and Marco the Underpaid Elementary School Teacher? They’re pretty heroic too.

But back to Joe the Plumber. . . What is the one thing that he, as a small businessman, must have? Yep. Customers. He can end up paying zero in taxes if he doesn’t have customers on the phone requesting his services. I can say from personal experience, that in the past few years I have learned how to fix a leaky faucet, unclog a drain, and install a new “toilet kit” all on my own. I’ve had to because I can’t afford to call a plumber.

Republicans may claim that a redistribution of wealth is bad, but it has been common practice for quite some time now. The nation’s wealth has been pouring into the gilt-lined coffers of the richest 1%. The trickle down thing hasn’t seemed to work so well for average Americans.

It is time to “spread the wealth” in the form of tax relief for the middle class. It’s not only fair, but it’s good for small businesses. If I have some extra money in my pocket I might not go “pheasant hunting in Ireland,” but I might splurge on new copper plumbing to replace the leaky decades old crap I have now. I certainly wouldn’t shop for a yacht to park in my driveway, but I might hire someone to replace the fence around my backyard with a new one.

Tax breaks for the wealthy don’t trickle anywhere. They just make the rich richer. Tax breaks for the middle class could give people a little breathing room. It’s quite likely that much of the money they save would be spent in small businesses across the nation. People might feel comfortable enough to shop at the local bakery, go to the beauty salon, have the house painted, or take in a movie. In other words, they may become customers for the zillions of small businesses across the land.

And what happens to those tax dollars from the wealthiest plumbers who take home more than $250,000 a year? Some of that wealth could be used to improve the roads and bridges his trucks travel on. It could improve police and fire protection services that keep his business safe. By bettering public education, tax dollars help to train the people he will hire in the future, and offer health care for those he has already hired.

This is not socialism…this is smart business.

My Daily Rant – October 18

To Infinity and Beyond

The Adler Planetarium projector is sort of the Joe the Plumber of earmarks. It is a single example that has been used to make a point.

One of the McCain campaign positions is that there are far too many earmarks in the budget. In an attempt to paint Obama as the king of wasteful spending, during the Oct. 7, 2008, presidential debate, McCain said, “He voted for nearly a billion dollars in pork-barrel earmark projects, including, by the way, $3-million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. My friends, do we need to spend that kind of money?”

Senator McCain has scornfully mentioned the projector several times since.

Overhead projector. Really? One person’s pork may be another person’s investment in the future.

The equipment in question is hardly an overhead projector. It is a replacement for one that weighs in at 2½ tons, is 18 feet in diameter and elevates from 12 to 20 feet. “It’s used to display 7,000 stars and planets that are visible,” said Mark Webb, director of theaters at Adler Planetarium.

Should the Adler get Federal funding? The request seems consistent with the goal of better education for our children, making them more competitive in the 21st century. Obama has vowed to put education on a fast track to improvement, with science and math in the lead. The Adler serves the population (including the school children) of at least three states – Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.

“The projection equipment in this theater is 40 years old, and is no longer supported with parts or service by the manufacturer,” a spokesperson from Obama’s office said in a June 21, 2007, announcement. The three million was requested by a bi-partisan group of six legislators from Illinois, but it isn’t the end of the story. The Adler will need about ten million dollars to finish refurbishing the facility. They plan to raise the additional seven million through private funding.

But why would those of us in other states want to use tax dollars to fund a planetarium in Chicago? The United Nations has declared 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. We here in the United States need to take heed and give out children the tools to excel or at least be knowledgeable in this science. Consider the following.

“Beijing Planetarium is taking a very important part in the preparation of IYA2009 events for mainland China. We are investigating the possibility of including astronomy as a normal middle school course in some cities and emphasizing the importance of planetariums in astronomy education. We are recommending that every middle-size city in China could have a large- or middle-size planetarium and every middle school in China could have its own middle or small-size planetarium. It is expected that hundreds of new planetariums will be built in the next several years, and IPS 2010 in Beijing will greatly speed-up such a process in China, as well as in some other regions of Asia.”

So Chinese children will have the opportunity to reach for the stars. Our kids? Well, the funding for the “overhead projector” was cut.


My Daily Rant – October 17

McCarthy Redux

by the Tall Twin

Okay. I’ve really come to the point where, if this were a manuscript, I would get out my red pen and strike out the plot turns that are just too hard to believe. Instead I must rant. In fact, I have a lot to catch up on, so my daily rant may turn into two or ten rants.

Let’s start with a general statement. Governor Palin announced at a rally that she loved visiting the Pro-America areas of the country. Short of one or two secessionist pockets that have recently come to the attention of the media, can we just agree that all areas of the country are Pro-American. In California, Alaska, Nebraska, Florida, Hawaii, New York, or any other state, our ideas and opinions may vary, but from sea to shining sea, we are Americans. Whether we chug beer or sip Chardonnay…we are Americans.

Nonetheless, on the Chris Matthews show, Hardball, Representative Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota said that she thinks the media should take a probing look at the views of people in Congress to determine who harbors anti-American views. Is the Representative a conservative or a liberal? Doesn’t matter. Where’s the line between acceptable American views and those that are anti-American? Are protestors bad guys? If you work to save a plot of land that has been marked for development, are you anti-American? How about if you march for better job benefits? Smaller cars? To save the polar bears?

If you believe in universal health care, free trade, Buddhism, flat tax, global warming, school vouchers, gay marriage, gas-powered lawn mowers, pro-choice, or evolution does that make you anti-American?

If you’re a hunter, a nurse, a creationist, pro-life, a college professor, a real estate developer, a CEO, a Wiccan, a liberal, a conservative, a vegetarian, or a belly dancer, does that make you anti-American?

How do you know? Who decides? Should we be more careful about what we say out loud? What we write? Once we start this kind of labeling, where does it lead?

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”

(Inscribed at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.)

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