Mar 30 2007

Little Picture People

Posted by Steve Ross in Uncategorized

In doing my morning news roundup, I came across this little gem from The Hill. The headline reads “Protesters stage ‘occupation’ of Hart office building”. Co-sponsored by Democracy Rising, the group made a circle of cardboard gravestones and read personal information about the fallen soldiers. Welcome to your slim majority Democrats.

I’m not going to bitch about the protest, or their message, because, to a large extent I agree with them. The war is wrong, and needs to be stopped and the troops need to be brought home as quickly as possible. Right on, I’m down with that. But some of these groups seem to think that, like a video game, we can just turn it off and it will go away. Does anyone have any idea how long it takes to de-mobilize 150 something thousand troops and all of their equipment and everything?

Kevin Zeese, director of Democracy Rising spouted this little gem at the protest, “The point we’re trying to make is that since January 4th the Democrats have had the chance to end the war. Instead of ending it they are extending it.” Well sir, I guess you’re right. By passing a bill funding the war we ARE extending it, even though the two versions of the bill seek to end it within 12 to 18 months. And once again, in your simple for/against logic, I guess that makes the Democratic Party liars because we didn’t get the damn thing stopped fast enough for you.

This is what annoys me about single-issue activists (Little Picture People). They want “it”, whatever “it” is, now, damn the consequences. The ones on the left are just as annoying as the ones on the right. There is no adjustment period, there is no opportunity for debate, or consensus building, “we” put you in there, now do it, our way, “NOW”!

I don’t think there’s any way to explain to these individuals the challenges that this attitude create, nor is it possible to explain the realities of legislating. None of this matters, just get it done. You want it done? Well I have a solution. We need a bulletproof majority in the House and Senate. That means no less than 60% of each body. That means we need to pick up around 30 more seats in the House and 10 more seats in the Senate. You want to run the country from the legislature, then that’s how we do it.

There’s your plan anti-war, want it now, no matter what activists, and all you other wide-eyed, emotionally driven political neophytes. Make it happen, and I’m sure we can hang the moon and the stars just for you. Or better yet, get your head out of your ass and realize that we’re all in this together, and that while focusing on the little picture may make you feel good, there is a big picture out there. By fixing the big picture, we fix the little one too. Heal the whole patient, instead of just treating the symptoms. Got it kids? Okies, carry on.

Mar 29 2007

Some Things Should Not Be Political

Posted by Steve Ross in Uncategorized

Of the many scandals going on with the administration, the one that makes me the most annoyed is the US Attorney firings. If you don’t know much about it, I suggest you go to Talking Points Memo to learn. As national political scandals go, this one stinks as bad as any other, if not worse.

I’ll not get into the minutiae of the scandal any more than to say that there is the appearance that this Administration has taken on the position that ALL political appointees are to be perfectly in sync with not only the policy of the Department they serve, but also the political strategy of the Administration and the Republican Party in general, and be willing to use said office for political purposes at any time for any reason. This co-opting of a Federal office for purely political purposes is the feather in the cap of all that is wrong with this Administration.

US Attorneys are political appointees and do serve at the pleasure of the President. As such, their resignation can be asked for at any time, for any reason. They know that getting in, and are usually given some time to clear out so their lives aren’t turned upside-down too terribly. Sometimes resignations are requested for political reasons, sometimes for performance reasons. Both are legit, assuming that this is not part of some kind of protection racket as seems to be the case with the firing of the US Attorney from San Diego, Carol Lam. Lam is the Attorney that got Duke Cunningham sent to the pokey for bribery and recently announced an indictment of Defense contractor Brent Wilkes and former CIA official Dusty Foggo. While Lam hasn’t garnered as much publicity as David Iglesias from NM, the appearance of impropriety really stinks up the place.

Some things should not be political. Regardless of party affiliation or who your buddy is, if you broke the law, particularly in cases of government corruption, you should be called to account for it. Sure the “Good ole Boy” network has and will always exist, but this President and his Administration has taken the practice to levels that Huey Long would find outrageous. Things like sentencing requests and what kinds of cases get priority are things that the AG can specify, and as such, are political. Firing people for doing their job, even when it isn’t pretty for you or your buddies, is a scandal. It’s gaming the system for personal gain, and that is another offense that needs to be thoroughly investigated.

Mar 29 2007

Mark Pryor Finds a Pair

Posted by Steve Ross in Uncategorized

Mark Pryor (D), the center right leaning Democratic Senator from my former home state of Arkansas, joined the rest of the Democratic Majority and voted for the Iraq funding bill that mandates (or in the Senate’s case, suggests) a pullout from Iraq by 3/08. Glad you found your balls sir.

Also voting with the Democrats were Hagel (R-NE) and Smith (R-OR). Smith is up for election in ’08 and is already polling behind the potential Democratic nominee.

Joementum (CFL), still vying for a seat in McCain’s Presidential campaign, was the only member caucusing with the Democrats who voted against the bill. Now it goes to conference, and then to the President’s desk, where the President will show just how much he supports the troops by vetoing their funding. Way to go sir, you are a true patriot. /snark

Incidentally, this will mark only the 2nd time that GWB43 (29% approval) has used the veto in his 6 years in office. I guess if you’re gonna stink it up, stink it up big.

Senate Roll call

Mar 19 2007

In Search of Decorum

Posted by Steve Ross in Uncategorized

I chose to give myself some time to cool down to write about this, but I have to say I’m still a little more than pissed. The frat house tactic/mentality of leering, circling, and then cornering members of the opposite sex in public settings may be entertaining to some, but it is the height of disrespect. Surely individuals of your station and caliber have more common sense, and better manners than this sad demonstration of hormone driven degradation of both yourselves and your victim. Needless to say, this activity both disgusts and saddens me.

I will not name any names or point any fingers, but you know who you are. Alcohol consumption is no excuse. If you can’t handle your liquor in public, keep it at home. Sadly, I fear that this behavior goes far deeper than blood alcohol level.

I do not expect any kind of apology, because I am not the one that deserves the apology. I just want those involved to know that such behavior is not acceptable to many others and me. Nor, I suspect, would it be found acceptable to the general public.

The End.

Mar 08 2007

The Cycle of Flight

Posted by Steve Ross in Uncategorized

I haven’t lived in Memphis for long, but there’s been something going on in this city for a long time that I saw back in Little Rock for the 20 odd years that I lived there. The Cycle of Flight is what happens when upper middle class people move out of a neighborhood or community for a newer better community with supposedly less crime, better schools, or lower taxes. These somewhat savvy and financially liquid “habitual movers” are replaced by families seeking to move up into the bracket of the former who are also looking for less crime, better schools, and lower taxes. This cycle will go on for years until the afore mentioned area eventually becomes “the hood”. This continues until it is no longer cost effective for developers to build out. Developers then buy up all the land in a previously developed area and call it a “revitalization”.

But hey, I’m not gonna complain about opportunistic developers and shady land deals. Nope, my bone to pick is with you flighters.

You gave up, you wussed out, you ran away. Maybe there was a legitimate reason for some of you, but by choosing to move into the burbs of Shelby Co. or N. Mississippi you have done the city a double disservice.
1. You have deprived a city desperately in need of leadership of your voice and your vote.
2. You have deprived the city of the financial means to fix the problems that you ran away from.

This one, two punch of heart strings and purse strings has damned you to a life of crappy chain food restaurants and and perpetual migration that can only be likened to that of birds.

You think you’re settled? Think again. Once the next shiny development breaks ground just over the horizon promising safety and affluence you will see the second most popular lawn adornment in the metro area, for sale signs, popping up like crab grass in a cotton field. In your mad dash to keep up with the Joneses, perhaps you can get out with some equity, but in reality, you’ll probably get stuck with a neighborhood full of “those people” you were trying to get away from in the first place.

I don’t and have never understood America’s love affair with sprawl. Sprawl is the physical manifestation of all that is wrong with America psychologically. The idea that you can physically remove yourself from a problem, be it personal or societal, without that problem coming to look for you is perhaps one of the most moronic ideas I’ve ever had to consider. Still, for whatever reason, people continue to do it.

I will not go so far as to call all sprawlers racist, or classist, or whatever. You know why you’re still running, why don’t you just stop and become part of the solution instead of perpetuating the problem.

Or is that too far out of character?

See, every time you move further out into the hinterlands you strain the utility system, the police, the fire department, the schools, the roads and God only knows what else. And then, you bitch about it.

I don’t know what kind of arrangement MLGW has with Shelby County and the burbs and all that, but I would like to suggest a special tax on all the folks who choose to live outside the city limits. It’s only fair. If you’re not going to be part of the solution, at least you can help pay for it. Maybe that would slow down some of this foolishness for a while.

In the mean time, enjoy your prefab “which one is mine” home in the hinterlands. Your next move is probably only 3 years away.