Good news/bad news

English: The western front of the United State...

English: The western front of the United States Capitol. The Neoclassical style building is located in Washington, D.C., on top of Capitol Hill at the east end of the National Mall. The Capitol was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Friday, Congress will begin a five-week vacation. The bad news is after five weeks they will return to Washington. A hundred years ago, Congressional sessions began in December and ended in March; now they stretch over the entire year and accomplish much less. Oh, for the good old days.

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Farm bill

English: Newt Gingrich at a political conferen...

English: Newt Gingrich at a political conference in Orlando, Florida. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Farmers live in the country and they are real Americans as opposed to people who live in cities and are dependent on entitlements like food stamps. Real American farmers and large corporate farms are people too. They deserve the $200 billion subsidies over five years that the next farm bill will authorize. Forget about the 50 million or so dependent on food stamps to survive. Out of sight, out of mind. And out of the farm bill, food stamps will still be funded, at least for a while and probably at lower amounts over the years. After all, isn’t Obama the food stamp president according to Newt Gingrich? He should know with an account at Tiffany’s. Very few of the hungry shop there.

Disturbing numbers

GOP Top 5: 5-17-11

GOP Top 5: 5-17-11 (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

Barack Obama was re-elected convincingly in November, 2012, only six months ago. Seems like ages ago doesn’t it because of continuing GOP obstruction? When you consider the Romney candidacy, it is amazing that President Obama only won by 5 million votes; it should have been by 10s of millions of votes.

The leadership of the GOP are probably holed up in some undisclosed location plotting a comeback. If only they have a better, more conservative candidate, next time, and if only they can reduce the number of voters who might vote Democratic, they can win the next election.

Well, the GOP may be able to reduce the number of Democratic votes by changing election laws here and there. But they cannot field a more conservative candidate who will win the hearts and minds and votes of a majority of Americans. There is no such Republican candidate who can win the support of the GOP base and then pivot to win independent and Democratic votes. The only way to select a winning GOP presidential candidate would be to eliminate primaries entirely. If the GOP establishment could return to choosing a candidate in smoke-filled back rooms, they might have a chance of picking a winner.

Me, my, mine

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-OH).

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-OH). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever noticed how limited the empathy of some people is? Rob Portman, US Senator from Ohio, was opposed to gay marriage until his son came out of the closet. Now that Portman has reversed his position on gay marriage, he claims that he cannot also support increased gun safety. I suppose one change of heart is his limit, today, this month, this Senate term, or this lifetime. Michael Milliken, the junk bond king, was fined heavily for his activities, but still retained millions of dollars. When he successfully fought off prostate cancer, he established a foundation to look for prostate cancer cures. That action was admirable, but what about other diseases that deserve funding?

My point is that many of us only care about conditions that affect us or our close family members. Case in point is the Senate action to solve the sequester cut effects on air traffic, while at the same time ignoring the sequester effects on the poor and the military. Selective empathy is the bane of our society.

Appalled

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY).

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am appalled (ap-paul-ed) that the US Congress contains both Senator Rand Paul and Representative Paul Ryan.  Two Pauls don’t make a right, but they do make an extreme Right.