Archive for September, 2009

What is going to be our next distraction?

September 30, 2009

Remember two weeks ago when Joe Wilson and Kanye West were the big distractions?  Seems like ages ago, doesn’t it?  It was so important at the time, but now, it’s all about President Obama pitching Chicago for the Olympics.  I do admit that this picture from Exurban League is hilarious:

 

Now, we all have to breathlessly follow the President as he goes to Copenhagen.  Before that, it was about how the President felt about Kanye West, before that it was Joe Wilson, before that it was Death Panels, before that it was Healthcare forums, before that it was Tea Parties, and before that it was the “Beer Summit.”

In fact, I’m sure I probably missed a few other distractions.  We go through topics of outrage like each one might be our last.  It’s sad really, but hey, it’s better than doing real work, right?  So, here are my predictions of what will be the next distraction:

2 to 1 – Anti-Obama merchandise.  It’s free speech and the malls are closing them down.  Something must be done about our right to say pithy things about our President.

3 to 1 – Abortion.  With Goddard once again trying to stay away from controversy and the courts getting involved, expect the timeless debate to be at the top of the heap for a couple of days.

5 to 1 – ACORN’s latest debacle.  I think there is still more to be revealed from these guys.  It seems like they are begging to find ways to shoot themselves in the foot.

7 to 1 – Back to Healthcare.  It seems like a safe harbor whenever the other buzz seems to lull.

10 to 1 – Obama says something to someone.  He isn’t quite the gaffe machine that Bush was, but then again, no one expected Bush to say anything all that smart.  So, anytime Obama messes up, it’s a much bigger deal.

15 to 1 – Guns!  We haven’t talked guns in awhile.

20 to 1 – Trent Franks and his “an enemy of humanity” comment.  This will probably be bigger locally, but we’ll probably squeeze a few days out of it.

50 to 1 – The Economy.  Hello?  Things aren’t getting better.  Anyone want to do anything about it?

100  to 1 – The Budget.  This is a long shot nationally, and even longer in Arizona.  We’re going to see a lot more distractions before anyone finally faces the music.

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At least we got that gun thing fixed

September 29, 2009

Well, thank goodness.  Starting tomorrow, gun toting patriots can now take their guns into bars and restaurants.  You may have to check with local officials, but you probably still have to leave your samauri sword at home.  I’m sure that business will be booming tomorrow as people line up to FINALLY frequent that pub they always wanted to go to, but never could because of their concealed weapon.

The economy is saved!!!  Or not.  Let me say once again that I am a huge fan of guns.  People should be free to do what they want, just as business owners should be free to do what they want with their property.  So, I have no problem with this law or what it entails.  My issue, of course, is the fact that once again, we are so easily distracted.

We can’t fix the budget, no one is getting along, but hey, at least we got that gun thing fixed.  Where are Arizona’s priorities?

Look, it’s the Arizona Budget process

September 28, 2009

The implosion of the office building in Phoenix over the weekend reminds me of something…  hmmm…  what could it be?  Oh, let me take a stab at it.  Ah, yes, the budget process.  Meanwhile, problems abound, and everyone is trying very hard to make sure that this mess ultimately doesn’t land in their lap.  Don’t blame Burns and Adams?  Puh-lease.

Until this thing gets done, everyone is to blame.  In the meantime, watch the implosion video a couple more times.

If you’re running for Governor, we need your plan ASAP

September 25, 2009

There is a little debate going on over at Sonoran Alliance over which tier certain candidates for Governor belong in.  This debate has been fired up since Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker decided to throw his hat into the ring for Governor.  Is he a top tier candidate, is he a second tier candidate?  Who knows. 

You know what I do know?  If you are running for Governor, we need to see your plan for the budget ASAP.  I am not going to sit through a year and a half of platitudes and vagaries of “increasing revenue” or “making cuts” only to watch someone get elected who has no real plan or any idea of how to get it done.  Obama used up all the vagueness left in the universe.  As I said to Parker today on Twitter, I congratulate anyone who is willing to stick their neck out and lead, but I need to see the plan.

Making a plan and standing up for something is not always popular (see Brewer struggling against do nothing Goddard), but in this case, it is the right thing to do.  I am saying this not only to Parker, but to Goddard, Dean Martin and anyone else who jumps in, you need to bring the goods and tell us SPECIFICALLY what you are going to do.  If she decides to run, the same goes for Brewer, too.  She had a plan, it didn’t work, so we need to know what Plan B is.

Arizona deserves to know exactly what we are getting ourselves into.  I don’t care who you worked for or why people think you’re popular.  I just want to know if you can “FIX IT.”  If you’re a cutter – I want to know how much you want to cut from education.  I want to know how much you want to cut from Public Safety.  If you’re a taxer – I want to know how much realistically you want to raise and where it’s going to come from.  And then, when you are finished with all of that, I want to know your plan for actually getting it done at the legislature.  If you have Ron Gould or Pamela Gorman endorsing you, I want to know that too. 

We have waited for 9 months for a budget and it is still $1 billion short.  We can’t afford to do this time after time.  We can’t afford to watch someone get elected and then have them say “Holy crap, this is a lot harder than it looks.”

If you have a learning curve, you better get ahead of it now.  You need to be ready to go on Day 1.  In fact, you need to be ready to go on Day -100.  So, there you have it, in my mind, until you present a balanced budget and a plan for our state’s recovery, you are not a top-tier candidate. 

So, right now, the number of top-tiered candidates sits at Zero.

Do Nothing – Be Popular

September 24, 2009

A little lesson in popularity, the less you do, the more popular you’ll be.  That way, you won’t piss anyone off because you haven’t taken a position on anything.  In what should come as a shocker to no one, Terry Goddard is rather popular right now.

You mean to tell me with Republicans bashing fellow Republicans and Goddard standing on the sidelines, he is more popular?  Naw, you’re kidding me.  Governor Brewer is not doing so hot in the survey, but without a budget deal done and no clear direction, who is surprised by that?  Without a sales tax election or something else to stand on (like an actual balanced budget or other reforms), Brewer is left on sinking sand.

What does crack me up, however, is that somehow Dean Martin’s 37% is WAY better than Brewer’s 36%.  Uh, guys, last time I checked, you’re both losing.  It would have been interesting if they included Vernon Parker as well, but I don’t think the survey had “Who’s that guy?” as an option.

So there you have it, do nothing – be popular.  I sure would love for someone to start pining some of these hopefuls down on what they would do to fix the budget.  If nothing else, maybe we’d find someone with a plan.

More government fail

September 23, 2009

Think Arizona is bad?  Well, Mr. Change himself isn’t doing much better.  Saw this in Sonoran Alliance:

A vehicle at 15 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 800 gallons of gasoline per year.

A vehicle at 25 mpg and 12,000 miles per year uses 480 gallons of gasoline per year.

So, the average “Cash for Clunkers” transaction will reduce US gasoline consumption by 320 gallons per year.

The government  claims 700,000 vehicles were sold – so that’s 224 million gallons/year.

That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil.  5 million barrels of oil is about ¼ of one day’s US consumption. And, 5 million barrels of oil costs about $350 million dollars at $70/bbl.

We all contributed to spending $3 billion to save $350 million. How good a deal was that ???

Oh Federal Government, you never cease to amaze me.  You just can’t sit back and let anyone fail worse than you.

The bubble is still popped

September 22, 2009

Hold on to your seats!  U.S. home prices rose 0.3 percent in July from the previous month!  I’m sure President Obama has “We are the Champions” queued up and ready to play.

I like good news, I really do.  But I am not going to get excited about a 0.3% increase in prices, especially since the overall index fell 4.2% over the last year.   At this rate, only 14 more months to make it back to where we were last year!

We’re still in the thick of the worst economic downturn we have seen in a long time.  And in the middle of it, we are making things worse with the Government encouraging people to go into more debt.  Things are probably going to get worse before they get better, especially here in Arizona.

I think that some people are hoping that if we hold out long enough, the state’s $1 billion dollar hole is going to fill itself.  The fact is, it won’t.  So, we are going to see even more cuts, or we have to find some other way to fix the problem.  Talked to a school teacher lately?  Most of them are scared for their job.  Sounds like a perfect learning environment for our kids.

Meanwhile, it appears that we have reached this lull where everyone seems to have accepted our budget problem.  I know it has been hard work, but that is what you were elected to do.  Making the right decision isn’t always the same as making the popular decision.  Now, get back to work!

Republic shields Dems from Blame Game

September 21, 2009

Everyone knows that the Arizona Republic clearly has an agenda.  They have for years.  Sometimes, they can be subtle, and other times they beat you over the head with it.  In their post-mortem of this legislative debacle and in the days following, it has become clear that the Arizona Republic is going to do everything within their powers to make sure that the Democrats get off scott free for their role in this mess.

First, last week, they layed blame at the feet of Senator Burns and followed it up by slamming Adams for a lack of transparency.  It paints a disfunctional picture of the Republicans in both the House and the Senate.  So where was the piece critical of Democrats?  Well, it never came.  Instead, we are treated to a delightful interview with Minority Leader David Lujan talking about how he is “frustrated.”  We are supposed to take his “we tried” answer and be okay with it.

Then, today we got a quick hit giving Napolitano credit for border funding.  Are you kidding me?  Where was Napolitano when the spending was out of control?  When is she going to step forward and accept some of the blame for Arizona’s mess?  She left the state and dropped a huge problem in our lap and has been unapologetic about it. 

How can the Republic do things like this with a straight face?

Will next year be any different?

September 18, 2009

The Senate President says that he hopes they can avoid a similar debacle to the one that they had this year.  Will next year be any different?  On the surface, I’m thinking probably not.

First, we have $1 billion dollar shortfall that still needs fixing for this year.  Only a scant 9 months down, and the problem hasn’t been dealt with.  That problem isn’t going away and they have yet to prove they can fix the problem, let alone deal with next year’s gaping short-fall.

Second, the Senate hasn’t had a Gould-and-Gorman-ectomy, so those crazy people will still be running around.  That means any tax option is completely off the table, which will make trying to negotiate with the Democrats or anyone who potentially cares about education a whole lot of fun.  Hooray for crazy talk.

Speaking of Democrats, you think they were bad this year?  I expect them to be completely silent next year.  Do you think a single Democrat is going to cut education further in an Election year?  Give me a break.  Expect next year to be the Terry Goddard show with Democrats lining up to support Goddard and place all the blame on Republicans.

Next, no one is going to forget this year.  So, all the hurt feelings, bruised egos, etc are still going to be there.  They are starting at the bottom of a very deep and angry pit.  And the voters already already have given them shockingly low approval ratings.  It’s not exactly a great place to start.

Finally, it sounds like the Senate is going to work on other bills.  Great.  They are completely unable to get anything done on a budget, so let’s give them the chance to work on all of their other pet projects.  It’s like giving a kid ice cream despite the fact that they have done an incredibly crappy job paiting the fence and they refuse to finish.

So yeah, not only is Arizona not fixed, it doesn’t look like it will be fixed for a long time.

Could we please focus, America?

September 16, 2009

In case you haven’t heard, President Obama apparently called Kanye West a “jackass” for what he did at some awards show hosted by MTV.  Which is worse – the fact that the President somehow cares about MTV or the fact that someone cared enough to ask him?  Meanwhile, we are once again on a tangent that has nothing to do with the real problems of the world and gets us nowhere close to finding a solution.

Also, our last little distraction still hasn’t moved on.  There is still a lot of talk about Congressman Wilson.  Seriously, they took the time to condemn his outburst with a vote.  Then, the Dems cheered the vote and the Republicans condemned it.  Why are we still talking about this guy?  Is it really that important?  Is that how acrimonious things have gotten that we have to fight about fights about people who don’t agree.

What is to blame for out National ADD?  Perhaps if our elected officials spent a little more time fixing problems and a little less time on the petty squabbles, they wouldn’t have all time low approval ratings.