March 16, 2013
As we fall into the sequester rabbit hole, don’t be surprised when perception of the size of things becomes distorted. Everything and nothing is relative in this latest iteration of the deficit crisis that simply will not die. Price tags for programs ripped from their budgetary moorings and held up for ridicule or support flicker and flutter like Tinker Bell, struggling to survive while her television audience dwindles, drained of passion by this endlessly repeated Promethean struggle.
Continue reading Sequester Nonsense
February 23, 2013
According to the Labor Department, the purchasing power of the federal minimum wage, after adjusting for inflation, has dropped twenty percent (20%) since 1967.
Continue reading Increasing the Federal Minimum Wage
January 19, 2013
Every time I’ve written about gun regulations in the past, I’ve received a profanity- and threat-laced anonymous e-mail from the same person telling me I better watch my back. Not terribly persuasive, but the caustic missives do underline the need for mental health outreach to the tortured souls in our midst. Ever since Cain and Abel, mankind has wrestled with anger management issues. I don’t believe the NRA’s arms race solution is the answer.
Continue reading Gun Control Initiatives 2013
November 17, 2012
It’s a curb, not a cliff. Panic will not ensue; except, perhaps, among the commentariat, but their hair’s on fire most of the the time anyway, while the rest of us, appropriately, go on about our lives. Even so, lame duck sessions rock. Let’s compare mandates: Republicans claim “success” in safe cngressional districts crafted in states they control. The President, having won the electoral and popular vote, points out that his determination to eliminate tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires could not have been more clear; adding that this policy receives broad support even among those who voted for Gov. Romney.
Continue reading Lame Duck Fiscal Cliff
October 20, 2012
In October, 2007, the stock market peaked above 14,000. By October of 2008, it was below 8,000. The market hit bottom at 6,547 on March 9, 2009. It closed at 13,557 on this Thursday. Construction starts were up 15% last month. Corporate profits have been setting records. Ordinarily, such excess revenue would be reinvested – more people would be hired and more equipment would be added or upgraded – but companies are just sitting on their cash, afraid to invest even in themselves. When exactly is the “trickle down” going to happen?
Continue reading Caveat Emptor – We ARE Better Off than Four Years Ago
October 6, 2012
Barack Obama brought his genial demeanor and prose to a knife fight. Mitt Romney brought his inner bully and an Etch-a-Sketch. Romney kept writing checks his platform won’t cover and basic math indicates he can’t cash. Obama seemed both bemused and befuddled. The President came to debate a Romney who has downplayed his inner moderate to prevail in the kill-or-be-killed Republican primaries. Through the Republican convention, Romney has held fast to the convictions of his party’s right wing, even choosing Paul Ryan as his running mate.
Continue reading Rope-A-Dope v. Etch-A-Sketch
September 29, 2012
Don’t boo. VOTE! Negative ads are meant to “disgust,” not persuade. They engender a sort of “pox on both their houses” attitude that doesn’t harm the ad sponsors. Negative ads are paid for by supporters of one candidate, not to get you to vote for them,- but to keep you from voting for their opponent.
Continue reading Byrne on Negative Ads
September 8, 2012
Yes, truth matters. All conscientious voters seek glimpses into the soul of candidates, but the opportunities are few and far between. Negative ads work tirelessly to suggest them, but are almost uniformly unhelpful. Transparency laws requiring identification of donors and their otherwise hidden agendas would be nice, but our hyper-partisan Congress won’t pass legislation anytime soon – the money’s too good and too effective until WE stop it.
Continue reading Paul Ryan’s Marathon Claim
July 28, 2012
6,000 rounds of ammunition. 2 Glock handguns. 1 pump-action shotgun. An AR-15 (M-16) with a 100-round drum capable of firing 50-60 rounds per minute. All acquired within the past two months. Is there no division at Homeland Security in a position to connect these dots?
Continue reading Aurora Theater Slaughter by Holmes
April 7, 2012
Student athletes are the subject of intense competition as they consider their college options. Scholars should be similarly recruited, but the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process is a one-size-fits-all filter effectively eliminating that possibility. The FAFSA form does not take into account indebtedness, car payments, house payments, local cost-of-living differences, individual family circumstances, or the tuition, room and board expense of different public or private colleges and universities.
Continue reading FAFSA and the Student Loan Debt Crisis