And Then The Fight Started...
My wife and I were sitting at a table at my high school reunion, and I kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table.
My wife asked, 'Do you know her?'
'Yes,' I sighed, 'She's my old girlfriend. I understand she took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear she hasn't been sober since.'
'My God!' says my wife, 'who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?'
And then the fight started...
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
By LIZ SIDOTI
January 31, 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican Party chose the first black national chairman in its history Friday, just shy of three months after the nation elected a Democrat as the first African-American president. The choice marked no less than "the dawn of a new party," declared the new GOP chairman, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. Republicans chose Steele over four other candidates, including former President George W. Bush's hand-picked GOP chief, who bowed out declaring, "Obviously the winds of change are blowing."
Steele takes the helm of a beleaguered Republican Party that is trying to recover after crushing defeats in November's national elections that gave Democrats control of Congress put Barack Obama in the White House.
GOP delegates erupted in cheers and applause when his victory was announced, but it took six ballots to get there. He'll serve a two-year term.
Steele, an attorney, is a conservative, but he was considered the most moderate of the five candidates running.
He was also considered an outsider because he's not a member of the Republican National Committee. But the 168-member RNC clearly signaled it wanted a change after eight years of Bush largely dictating its every move as the party's standard-bearer.
Steele became the first black candidate elected to statewide office in Maryland in 2003, and he made an unsuccessful Senate run in 2006. Currently, he serves as chairman of GOPAC, an organization that recruits and trains Republican political candidates, and in that role he has been a frequent presence on the talk show circuit.
He vowed to expand the reach of the party by competing for every group, everywhere.
"We're going to say to friend and foe alike: 'We want you to be a part of us, we want you to with be with us.' And for those who wish to obstruct, get ready to get knocked over," Steele said.
"There is not one inch of ground that we're going to cede to anybody," he added.
"This is the dawn of a new party moving in a new direction with strength and conviction."
His job is to spark a revival for the GOP as it takes on an empowered Democratic Party under the country's first black president in midterm elections next fall and beyond.
He replaces Mike Duncan, who abandoned his re-election bid in the face of dwindling support midway through Friday's voting.
Two others who trailed farther back in the voting eventually followed suit, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell and Michigan GOP chairman Saul Anuzis.
In the sixth and final round of voting, Steele went head-to-head with his only remaining opponent, South Carolina GOP chief Katon Dawson. Steele clinched the election with 91 votes; a majority of 85 committee members was needed.
Just eight years after Republicans controlled both the White House and Congress, the GOP finds itself out of power, without a standard-bearer and trying to figure out how to rebound while its foe seems to grow ever stronger.
The Democratic Party boasts a broadened coalition of voters -- including Hispanics and young people -- who swung behind Obama's call for change. At the same time, the slice of voters who call themselves Republican has narrowed. The GOP also has watched as Democrats have dominated both coasts while making inroads into the West and South, leaving Republicans with a shrunken base.
Despite the run of GOP losses, Duncan had argued that he should be re-elected because of his experience; his five challengers called for change and said they represented it.
As he left the race, Duncan thanked Bush and said of his two-year tenure: "It truly has been the highlight of my life."
Another candidate, former Tennessee GOP Chairman Chip Saltsman, withdrew from the race on the eve of voting and with no explanation, saying only in a letter to RNC members, "I have decided to withdraw my candidacy."
Saltsman, who ran former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's failed presidential campaign last year, saw his bid falter in December after he drew controversy for mailing to committee members a CD that included a song titled "Barack the Magic Negro" by conservative comedian Paul Shanklin and sung to the music of "Puff, the Magic Dragon."
Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 3:56 PM
By: David A. Patten
In a major step closer to a future run for national office, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Tuesday established SarahPAC, a political action committee expected to play a key role in financing upcoming political endeavors.
“SarahPAC believes the Republican Party is at the threshold of a historic renaissance that will build a better future for all,” the SarahPAC.com Web site announced Tuesday. “Health care, education, and reform of government are among our key goals.”
The site, which invites donations, calls energy independence “a cornerstone of the economic security and progress that every American family wants and deserves.”
NBC’s Norah O’Donnell characterized the creation of the fund-raising organization as “a sign Sarah Palin wants to continue to be a player on the national political stage.” O’Donnell added that the Virginia-based PAC “is modeled after HillPAC, Hillary Clinton’s former political committee. Palin’s committee allows her to raise money for other Republicans.”
The PAC Web site describes the organization as “Dedicated to building America's future, supporting fresh ideas and candidates who share our vision for reform and innovation.”
The Alaska governor’s popularity remains undiminished since the election. O’Donnell reports Sen. John MCain’s running mate has over 465,300 supporters on Facebook.
© 2009 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
I'm excited that Sarah is at the very least considering national office sometime in the future. I think that by organizing this PAC, she will begin to establish herself as a viable future candidate. For POTUS? I don't know. If anything, this past election has proven that you need to be more than bright, articulate, and a strong woman with conservative values who is willing to stand behind those values.
I still believe that as governor of Alaska, she was, and is, more qualified for the office of the Vice President than our new President was for the office he was elected to. But that is now beside the point. I won't entertain debate as to the past election; it's part of the past, and I am looking to the future.
Perhaps if she puts in time in the Senate, she will prove just how qualified she is. We're getting ahead of the game, though. I might be looking to the future, but that's even further down the road. We shall see what SarahPAC will do for her and for other candidates.
Sarah now knows what the media is capable of. And yes, I do believe that the media is responsible for this election. But, as I said, that's the past and behind us. The future is ahead, and it's bright for all of us.
Good Luck, Sarah!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
On the Geithner Confirmation
I sent an email to Senator Bill Nelson asking him to vote against the Geithner nomination as Treasury Secretary. Of course, Nelson voted for the confirmation. Here is his response to my email:
Thank you for contacting me about the nomination of Timothy Geithner to serve as Treasury Secretary. I understand your concerns.
Mr. Geithner admitted an honest mistake on his taxes and the IRS agreed, choosing not to penalize him. Also, all taxes owed were paid with interest.
The Finance Committee took testimony from Mr. Geithner on January 21, and favorably reported his nomination. On January 26, I joined the majority of the Senate in confirming Mr. Geithner, and he was sworn in later that day.
Given what's at stake with our economy, it is vital that we have a Treasury Secretary who is ready to act. I appreciate hearing your opinion on this nomination. Please don't hesitate to contact me in the future.
My response to Senator Bill Nelson:
I realize that Mr. Geithner has been confirmed as Treasury Secretary so this is moot, but I had to make my opinion known.
I don't believe that Mr. Geithner made an honest mistake. I believe that it was calculated and intentionally done in order to evade paying taxes on income. If that is not the case, then Mr. Geithner was ignorant of the laws that he is now expected to know and enforce. I believe there is an old saying that covers this: ignorance of the law is no excuse.
I believe that the income in question was earned out of country. Did he make to determine if he was required to pay taxes on that income. I have seen no evidence that such inquiry was ever made. Perhaps it was and he was given incorrect information. I have not heard this was the case. All I know about the situation is that once his name was in consideration he suddenly realized that there were tax questions and he paid the taxes on the two years that were still owed. An honest man, making an honest mistake, should have not only admitted the mistake but made an effort to pay ALL taxes owed, not only those two years still owed.
Sorry Mr. Nelson, but I think you dropped the ball. It really doesn't matter how intelligent Geithner is or how well he will do as Secretary of the Treasury. The perception is that he is either less than honest, or is ignorant of tax laws. In either case, is he the right man for this position? Perception questions his honesty and integrity. All I can base an opinion of Mr. Geither on is what I know of him. And right now, I don't know whether he was honestly ignorant or honestly stupid.
You know, there is one way to avoid this situation in the future. Pass the Fair Tax. Tax is paid on consumption of products, not on wages earned.
Think about it. Too many members of Congress and in the national eye have been challenged on tax issues. Why don't we eliminate this problem, broaden the tax base, and get rid of a tax code that is impossible for any one to understand? Not even veteran IRS personnel understand the Code.
I expected Nelson to vote in favor of confirmation. It was a forgone conclusion that Geithner would be confirmed. Nelson is a Democrat after all, and I suspect he votes as the Party expects him to vote, not necessarily in the best interests of the American people, or even in the best interests of his Florida constituents, but in the best interests of the Democratic Party.
Mr. Geither did not pay ALL taxes owed, he paid taxes and penalties only on the last two years. The statute of limitations had expired on the first two years, so Geithner wasn't required to pay on those. I suspect he wouldn't have settled any of his debt if his name hadn't been floated as a possible candidate for Treasury Secretary. He had a DOH! moment and remembered that income.
Mr. Geithner, to all reports, is well qualified for this position. I really don't know whether he is or not. As I wrote to Senator Nelson I can only form an opinion based on what I know:
- Mr. Geithner earned income and failed to pay taxes on it.
- He paid taxes and penalties on the two years still in contention AFTER he was in consideration for Treasury Secretary.
- There are other allegations that Geithner attempted to evade taxes, but I won't go into those, as I don't have sufficient information on them.
Mr. Geithner is supposed to be an expert on the economy. How can an expert on the economy fail to pay taxes on income? If he didn't know whether or not he should pay taxes on that income, shouldn't he have researched it or, I don't know, ask someone?
As I have stated many times, perception is everything. I don't know what was going through Mr. Geithner's mind, whether he questioned anyone about paying those taxes, whether he deliberately chose not to pay the taxes, or honestly thought he didn't have to pay taxes. My perception is that he should have known, or at the very least, made inquiries sometime within the time period he earned income overseas. So, my perception is, at best, he made a stupid mistake, or at worst, that he perpetrated a criminal offense. In either case he got away with it - being stupidly ignorant or a crime that would land most other people in Federal Court.
How many more high profile people are going to end up on the front pages because of tax issues? How many more Senate nominates (not to mention sitting Senate and House members) are going to withdraw their names from consideration because of tax issues? As I wrote to Senator Nelson, there is a way to avoid this mess: pass the Fair Tax.
No one would be able to avoid paying taxes. Everyone would pay taxes, and pay the same rate. There would be no more DOH! moments.
What could be more fair?
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
1. The House Democrats' bill will cost each and every household $6,700 additional debt, paid for by our children and grandchildren.
2. The total cost of this one piece of legislation is almost as much as the annual discretionary budget for the entire federal government.
3. President-elect Obama has said that his proposed stimulus legislation will create or save three million jobs. This means that this legislation will spend about $275,000 per job. The average household income in the U.S. is $50,000 a year.
4. The House Democrats' bill provides enough spending - $825 billion - to give every man, woman, and child in America $2,700.
5. $825 billion is enough to give every person living in poverty in the U.S. $22,000.
6. $825 billion is enough to give every person in Ohio $72,000.
7. Although the House Democrats' proposal has been billed as a transportation and infrastructure investment package, in actuality only $30 billion of the bill - or three percent - is for road and highway spending. A recent study from the Congressional Budget Office said that only 25 percent of infrastructure dollars can be spent in the first year, making the one year total less than $7 billion for infrastructure.
8. Much of the funding within the House Democrats' proposal will go to programs that already have large, unexpended balances. For example, the bill provides $1 billion for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which already have $16 billion on hand. And, this year, Congress has plans to rescind $9 billion in highway funding that the states have not yet used.
9. In 1993, the unemployment rate was virtually the same as the rate today (around seven percent). Yet, then-President Clinton's proposed stimulus legislation ONLY contained $16 billion in spending.
10. Here are just a few of the programs and projects that have been included in the House Democrats' proposal:
$650 million for digital TV coupons.
$6 billion for colleges/universities - many which have billion dollar endowments.
$166 billion in direct aid to states - many of which have failed to budget wisely.
$50 million in funding for the National Endowment of the Arts.
$44 million for repairs to U.S. Department of Agriculture headquarters.
$200 million for the National Mall, including grass planting.
$400 million for "National Treasures."
11. Almost one-third of the so called tax relief in the House Democrats' bill is spending in disguise, meaning that true tax relief makes up only 24 percent of the total package - not the 40 percent that President-elect Obama had requested.
12. $825 billion is just the beginning - many Capitol Hill Democrats want to spend even more taxpayer dollars on their "stimulus" plan.