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September 15, 2005

Thursday Olio

Coupla things that struck me today.

First up - Tom DeLay and his comments about "Winning the War on Fat in the Federal Budget."

Some of us are not amused.

While I am not a fan of Rush Limbaugh's show (I do generally like his monologues, but once the callers start in, I'm outta there, I can only take so much group-think before my mind wanders), I'll say that Limbaugh's explanation is *also* plausible. In fact... I *hope* he's correct, otherwise I have to conclude that Mr. DeLay was hung-over or otherwise incapacitated. Y'all can decide as you wish.

The whole thing revolves around paying for Katrina. There's this little bit from the Wall Street Journal:

Some public-spirited folks in Bozeman, Montana, have come up with a wonderful idea to help Uncle Sam offset some of the $62 billion federal cost of Hurricane Katrina relief. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports that Montanans from both sides of the political aisle have petitioned the city council to give the feds back a $4 million earmark to pay for a parking garage in the just-passed $286 billion highway bill. As one of these citizens, Jane Shaw, told us: "We figure New Orleans needs the money right now a lot more than we need extra downtown parking space."

Which got us thinking: Why not cancel all of the special-project pork in the highway bill and dedicate the $25 billion in savings to emergency relief on the Gulf Coast? Is it asking too much for Richmond, Indiana, to give up $3 million for its hiking trail, or Newark, New Jersey, to put a hold on its $2 million bike path?

The whole article is here, if you are a subscriber.

Now *there* is an idea that even lefties should be able to get behind. Take some of the 'nice to haves' out of the current budget and apply them to the 'need to haves' from the month's/year's disasters so far... Lefties are willing to tell me that I should skimp nice to haves at home and fork over the dough to government for need to haves like bike paths... why can't we divert that money for what is obviously *not* a crying and compelling need, to one that is? It's not like we can't reallocate the funds next year.

Further - and I've sent this to my delegation... lets put a checkbox on the federal tax form that allows me to allocate funds to disaster relief... a self-selected surcharge. I can either do it as an "add" to my tax bill or as a debit from my refund. States do it all the time. Why not the Feds?

I'd tick it off if I knew where it was going... and yes, I understand money is fungible, spare me that discussion.

Here is another interesting observation. Where I work, there are some pretty left-leaning people, who work for my firm, the government, and other firms. I've been out shaking the charity tree and just talking to people about who and what they have for giving habits. Not inquisitorial, just in context. Given where I work and who with, the lefties are a decided minority, and pretty muted, though there are at least three who are pretty aggressive, one even pugnacious, in their politics. But all in a collegial way, lest anyone think we have rollicking and brawling politics in the office. We don't, and there is plenty of group-think around here, too. [Get to the point, Donovan, sheesh!] The point is... every right-winger I've spoken to has given money, some substantial amounts, to Katrina relief, and been keeping up with their other giving. With two exceptions, the left-leaners have not, or have given token sums. What's more interesting is the underlier - we all make, broadly speaking, about the same amount of money. I suspect both groups give similar amounts of money, too. Since I'm not really digging into it, and it *is* self-reported, this is not good data... but the lefties give it to groups with direct political agendas, whether parties or organizations like NARAL, NOW, ACLU, etc. Righties tend to give it more to United Way, CFC, Red Cross, and faith-based organizations that are more service-oriented than policy oriented.

Just an observation.

Moving on... Today is a big day in history for CAPT Heinrichs, Mostly Cajun, Neffi... their branch debuted!

1916 First use of tanks in war, by the British in the Battle of the Somme.

1938 Br PM Neville Chamberlain visits Hitler at Berchtesgaden. Thus ltidying up the groundwork for WWII in the aftermath of WWI. So obvious in hindsight, but a lot of people thought it was a good idea at the time. Does any of this sound vaguely familiar... echoes of the 90's? Does anyone doubt that if French Prime Minister Daladier had ordered the French Army into the Rhineland, to enforce the provisions of Treaty of Versailles (Arts. 42, 43) he would have been reviled as much as President Bush has been... by generally the same group of people?

1944 Marines land on Peleliu, 450 miles east of Mindanao in the Philippines. Sadly, the place is more famous now as the setting for Survivor, Palau. (I *detest* the Survivor shows... which makes me a distinct minority amongst my compadres).

You want to read about surviving in Palau, I recommend this: Marine At War. by Russell Davis (I read it in 5th Grade - the first of many, many, many war-related books to follow.)

1950 Inchon Landing: UN troops attack behind North Korean lines. MacArthur's last great stroke of genius.

John | Permalink | Comments (27) | Historical Stuff | Hurricane Katrina
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