Friday, November 23, 2012

What do the Republicans want from the stimulus package?

Sure, the Republicans are raising a big stink about the stimulus plan, but in the end it may not take too much to get a bunch of moderate Republicans to go along in the Senate. From a Reuters article by Richard Cowan entitled "Obama and Congress seek deal on economic stimulus":
McConnell said a main goal for the Senate Republicans will be to increase the amount of tax cuts in the package so they amount to 40 percent of the overall measure, with the rest in emergency spending.
The House-passed bill is closer to 33 percent being devoted to tax cuts -- not hugely different from McConnell's goal.
Give them another $10 billion or so in tax cuts and a number of moderate Republicans will go along with the deal.
I am sure the Republicans want a bunch of other goodies and to strip out some of the Democratic goodies, but the big deal is to assure that the moderate Republicans get enough tax cuts in the bill. Sure, that will make the bill bigger, but in this environment that is not a problem.
President Obama still has a good shot at getting his 80 votes in the Senate, but that is no slam-dunk. Still, 70 to 75 votes could easily be within reach and give the Senate version of the bill at least a somewhat bi-partisan flavor.

Is the so-called Ground Zero mosque really "insensitive"?

There has been quite a bit of chatter that somehow the location of an Islamic community center two blocks from the World Trade Center site is "insensitive" to the families of those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Congressional Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. on CNN's State of The Union addressed that issue squarely, as reported by USA Today:
As much as I respect the sensitivities of people, there is a fundamental mistake behind it ... The fallacy is that Al Qaida attacked us -- Islam did not attack us ... It is only insensitive if you regard Islam as the culprit, as opposed to Al Qaida as the culprit..
My point exactly.
Somehow, a lot of people out there have misguidedly confused themselves into believing that Islam and the Islamic world attacked us on 9/11. There is no compelling factual basis for such a belief. So, we are faced with the fact that those who rant about "insensitivity" are in fact more interested in promoting and inciting a crusade against Islam than being honest about who perpetrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Or, in some cases, they are mere opportunists who have latched onto a wedge issue that they can exploit for personal gain.
The 9/11 attacks were almost nine years ago, so there has been more than ample passage of time for the families of the victims to grieve and get over their loss and move on with their lives. Sure, in the first couple of years after the event it was quite appropriate to give them space and cut them some slack, but what we are seeing now is raw, naked exploitation by some of these people and the people who pander to them. 9/11 is now a page of history, not a current event that people should be obsessing over. It really is time for these people to move on with their lives. Those who continue to obsess after all of these years are dysfunctional or opportunists and either need professional counseling or simply need to be called out for their misguided actions.
In short, there was in fact a time for sensitivity, but that time is long past and everybody should be moving on with their lives. The only sensitivity needed now is to be sensitive to trying to creative a new and better future for all. We need to call out and say "No" to any and all pandering of or to those misguided individuals and groups who see Islam as the culprit, especially those seeking to hide their anti-Islamic agenda behind alleged "sensitivities" of families of the victims.
So, superficially the location of the Islamic community center may appear to be insensitive when framed improperly as some are doing, below the surface there is no significant issue of insensitivity that any of us needs to be beholding to.

Poltical Revenue - All change is good

"Change" is a mantra thrown about by all activists, but only in a qualified form, such as "Change we can believe in." Well, change doesn't really work that way. Change is an inherent and fundamental force in the natural and manmade world. Accept change or be disappointed. We can't cherry-pick change, adopting the "good" change and rejecting the "bad" change. It's all or... well, it's all, period. My own personal view is that all change is inherently good. In fact, it is the very change that we find least appealing that typically has the most value for us, provided that we manage to effectively exploit that change and not fight it tooth and nail.
To state it simply:
All change is inherently good, especially that change which is least desired.
If it sometimes or even frequently seems that some particular change appears to have little positive value or an excessively negative value, it is most likely true that we have simply not tried hard enough to discover creative ways to exploit that change. Maybe we simply have blinders on or some outdated bias that interferes with our ability to see a path to a better future that exploits that change.