"I inherited the deficit that we have right now and the economic crisis that we have right now," said President Obama during his primetime speech on Monday, given in hopes of speeding passage of the 'stimulus' bill now mired in partisanship and hypocrisy, and to set the record very straight: "The notion that I just came in here ginned up to spend $800 billion dollars - that wasn't how I envisioned beginning my presidency." Well, good luck with that... And good luck to Republicans so quick to forget that they followed Dubya into an abyss - blowing a balanced budget and surplus, ruining America's standing in the world, and leaving the new president with two wars (Afghanistan is so very Taliban right now) and a debt of several trillion. Former POW and presidential candidate, and future Geritol spokesman John McCain calls the stimulus "generational theft." Meanwhile, TARP funds from the $700 billion banking bailout (devised by Bush and zealously endorsed by both Obama and McCain) have proved to be utterly untraceable, with Wells Fargo's $25 billion buyout of Wachovia seemingly underwritten by us. US, as in you and me...
Time for a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission"
Who you callin' Dick!America is in a sorry state right now - But not even close to Rwanda after ethnic cleansing via machete. Or is it? Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) wants to establish a committee to investigate the Bush Administration's many - how shall we say this? - proclivities towards obscuring the truth. Warrantless wiretapping, torture, the firings of several U.S. Attorneys, outing a CIA agent, oh invading a country not involved in 9-11, hey how about auctioning off mining rights around Utah's Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon? The list is endless, as Leahy explained, "Many Americans think we need to get to the bottom of what went wrong and I agree." To be based on post-Apartheid South African and post-zombie/slasher/genocide Rwandan commissions, our "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" would ideally help us all heal from eight years of Bushisms. After hearing of Leahy's plans, President Obama offered only that he didn't want to express an opinion "on something that I haven't seen." Wait! Isn't that the whole point of Executive Privilege and Truth and Reconciliation? How do we know unless we see, air it in public, at last know, finally spit in Cheney's face, slap the Bush twins senseless, kick Barney the dog... Oh well, forget it, at least Obama got elected, right? "Look! He bumped his head! Let's watch that again on YouTube!"
Other than Angst, Our National Past Time is now Beer Pong...
Where's my flax seed?Forget baseball; men wearing gloves and swinging wood at balls is so San Fran. Seven-time NL MVP Barry Bonds may be going to jail and Alex Rodriguez just admitted to using steroids. As a senior in high school, A-Rod batted .505, was the first pick by the Seattle Mariners in 1993, started at short-stop at the age of 18 and batted .351 (the highest for an AL right-handed hitter since Joe DiMaggio), and became the third youngest player to win the AL batting title, behind Al Kaline and Ty Cobb. $252 million and a trade to the Texas Rangers later (signed by then-Rangers GM George W. Bush - the first hint of the future president's ineptitude with handling budgets) A-Rod is now a Yankee and will have to answer for his doping. MLB Commissioner 'Bud' Selig (who was paid $18 million last year) has said little about any possible investigation, but the real payback will come from Katie Couric, who interviewed A-Rod in late 2007, asking, "For the record, have you ever used steroids, human growth hormone or any other performance-enhancing substance?" Flossing his teeth with a C-note, A-Rod answered, "No."
The California mother of six who had octuplets through implanted embryos had no discernable income - until having octuplets with no discernable income, and is now all over the news, with each outlet paying for her invaluable insights; five members of the Kulina tribe in remote Brazil are suspected of murdering, butchering and eating a farmer; Republican Senator David Vitter, who was linked to the DC Madam's prostitution ring, may be replaced by porn star Stormy Daniels - Vitter says his wife has forgiven him, while CSPAN is adding cameras to fully cover Daniel's possible Senate run in 2010; suicides among Army troops soared to a three-decade high, with at least 128 soldiers taking their own lives in 2008 (compared to 212 who died from enemy fire) and the Army is investigating "a few more" that may be 'possible' suicides; though unconfirmed, pilots across America are hoping birds take out their engines so they too can crash-land in the Hudson and appear on Larry King.
WTF?: Bend's "Emergencies"
Where Upfront grew up - a place that wasn't really all that different from Bend - we had emergencies like fires, the occasional flood. Shit, we even had snow emergencies. That's where a winter storm moves in suddenly and drops two to three feet of snow, forcing school and work closures and general mayhem. But we never saw an emergency like the kind of "emergencies" that the Bend city council encounters on a seemingly weekly basis. This past week was a great example of the city's penchant for finding crises in the most unlikely places. We learned at 5:30 p.m. Friday, at time when most folks have already punched the clock and are raising their first celebratory pint - that the city was calling an "emergency" meeting before a midnight deadline to fill a vacant seat on the city council. Mind you the council had more than a month to come up with a name for the position. But it failed to do that after repeated attempts. After hammering out a backroom compromise, the city gave the public a half-hour notice to watch councilors resolve the emergency with a pre-ordained decision. Where Upfront comes from that's not an emergency, that's incompetence - or at best procrastination.
You don't have to look far in the annals of the council to find another questionable emergency. At the end of January, a majority of councilors tried to immediately enact a provision that would allow builders to file 12-month extensions on idle permits, ensuring that they wouldn't have to pay potentially higher fees when, or if they, re-filed with an economically viable project. Again, this was billed as an "emergency." Perhaps the city management emerged fresh from a two-year slumber like a modern day Rip Van Winkle to find the economy in free fall, requiring immediate and urgent action. That would actually be a more palatable reason for the giveaway to builders.
No doubt there are other foreseen emergencies on the horizon. In the meantime, we suggest that the city get a dictionary to look up the definition of "emergency." Or I'd be happy to send over my five-year-old daughter with an explanation that even Bend officials can understand. WTF?