Window Dressing

Republicans jumped on a bandwagon to pressure the president to approve a proposed oil pipeline through 1700 miles of the interior, and have gone all crazy when he did’t do that within a 60 day notional deadline the Republicans created from whole cloth. Ignore the fact that major construction that has a significant possibility of causing substantial environmental damage to the areas through which it passes.  Reducing or mitigating environmental damage isn’t on the Republican radar this year.  But the legal requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement, and the near impossibility of producing one of those that will stand up in a district court under those sort of time constraints would be on the Republican radar if they actually wanted the pipeline to succeed.

The Republican big-brain trust thinks that they’ve got a win no matter what. If Obama approves the pipeline, but the approval falls apart in court, then Obama is wrong.  If Obama refuses the stupid Republican deadline, then he doesn’t believe in progress, or finding jobs for Americans.

I hope that Obama will commit that unthinkable third act, getting it right the first time, so that we don’t have to do it over.

No, I don’t think that my president needs to be a millionaire


I know a surprisingly large group of people who’ve put their lives into public service, but never took the time to make themselves millionaires.  I have no problem with somebody who has made themselves a millionaire, but much rather vote for a public servant who considers supporting the nation to be more important than making millions of dollars.

One of my state’s recent senators made himself a multimillionaire during his first term in the Senate, many years ago.  I don’t consider that laudable in any way.

Lies hidden within truths?

We sometimes read that the best lies contain as much truth as possible. That’s true enough, I guess. This article may be an outstanding example of that. Harry Reid most likely was engaging in some thoughtless hyperbole – both sides of the political divide seem content with that, and both have enough ardent believers who’ll accept their lines uncritically to make this sort of hyperbole well worthwhile. I’ve been caught up in it a time or two.

Still, this article tries to disenfranchise Warren Buffet from the Billionaire’s Club. “Either Warren Buffet’s secretary has an incompetent tax accountant or Buffet has some pretty juicy tax breaks. I think the latter is more likely.” Which causes me to wonder. Should I trust Paul Roderick Gregory‘s math, which seems reasonable on the surface, but is in pursuit of a narrative, or Warren Buffet, who was talking about a very specific situation. I mean, if Gregory is such an economic guru, couldn’t he have discovered what Buffet’s “tax breaks” were, and figured out how many of them applied to other millionaires (and billionaires)?