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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

That's a Cut?

Ever heard this complaint before?
Don't let Bush cut bay program
Roanoke Times editorial

One redeeming virtue of this year's five-year Farm Bill is the $188 million Congress included to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay. Now President Bush wants to take the money away for fiscal year 2009.

He sent a revised budget request over to Capitol Hill recently that would cut $23 million from the program.

Congress overrode a Bush veto to pass the massive reauthorization bill in June, and it should ignore White House tinkering now.

The Chesapeake Bay is dying ... (link)
Let's take a trip down memory lane:

The Bush administration in February proposed a budget that would slash numerous Chesapeake-related initiatives below funding levels approved by Congress for the current year.

Programs that help to fund wastewater treatment plant upgrades and oyster restoration would be among the hardest hit by the proposed cuts. And some popular initiatives, such as the Small Watershed Grants Program and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network would have their funding eliminated under the spending plan.

“This budget would provide less money for the Bay’s most important programs,” said Ann Jennings, Virginia executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. “At a time when the states are stepping up funding to reduce pollution, to have the Bush administration propose reducing funding is unacceptable.”

Was this written last week? Last month? How about two years ago. That "cut" was coming to George Bush's 2007 budget.

And the dirty little secret?

For most programs, the administration’s 2007 budget actually seeks similar levels to those it had requested for the present year. Yet Bay-related initiatives ended up with far more money than the administration sought because of additions, known as earmarks, by Congress.

Typically, administrations ignore those earmarks when developing their budgets for the following year, even for programs specifically authorized by Congress. For instance, the legislation authorizing the EPA’s Bay Program also specifically created the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program. No administration has ever included finding for the program in its budget, but Congress has added it each year. [my emphasis]

Ever wonder how Republican administrations are accused of slashing this budget allocation and that budget allocation, while, at the same time, the federal budget has mushroomed to $3,100,000,000,000?

And this little tidbit gives you an idea of what a "cut" is:

The president wants to increase funding to $35 million for EPA programs to clean up diesel engines, up from $7 million in 2006. He also would provide $29 million to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and $35 million to help clean up harmful industrial pollutants in the sediments of the Great Lakes.

That was a year ago. The president "would provide $29 million to help clean up the Chesapeake Bay watershed." $29 million. And the 2009 budget? President Bush is criticized for wanting to "cut" funding to a paltry $165 million. That's a 469 percent increase over the prior year!

Only in liberal la la land is that a cut. Don't buy it for a minute.

When Disapproval Becomes Fanaticism

Did you know that anti-liquor crusader Carrie Nation "applauded the assassination of President William McKinley in 1901 because she believed that he secretly drank alcohol and that drinkers always got what they deserved"?*

Radical, yes?

Blind intolerance can sometimes lead to such twisted attitudes towards our fellow human beings.

"But that was then," you say.

Today's version of Carrie Nation: Anti-smoking fanatics. Richard Miniter has the latest shameful episode in a long history of irrational and uncompromising zealotry:

In the 1950s, the most puritanical place in America was somewhere in Kansas. Today it is Los Angeles.

Exhibit A: A proposal by the L.A. city council to ban smoking outdoors. Outdoors. Say on a patio or hotel balcony.

Puritans are people who want to live according to a strict moral code of their own devising and want to make you live their way too.

What is behind this Puritan impulse? Public health, you say. Well, that is what they always say. Witches were problems of moral health (the witches, not the witch hunters’, mind you) and alcohol was destructive to mind, body and society.
And it won't stop with a complete ban on smoking cigarettes (I wonder how the marijuana industry is faring these days) . Next they're coming for your Big Mac. Then your video games. SUV ... Incandescent lightbulbs ... Bibles ...

* Source

Where Once It Was Considered An Act Of War ...

... now we don't give a damn that the Mexican army has invaded the United States of America for the 43rd time in recent months:
Mexican soldiers enter state, hold border agent at gunpoint
by Sean Holstege, The Arizona Republic

Four Mexican army soldiers entered southern Arizona and pointed their rifles at a U.S. Border Patrol agent early this week, the Border Patrol said.

The incident Sunday was the Mexican military's 43rd incursion across the U.S. border since October, the agency said. However, it was unusual because firearms were involved. The Border Patrol and the Mexican government are investigating, Border Patrol spokesman Mike Scioli said.

The soldiers held their weapons on the agent for several minutes until he identified himself in Spanish, whereupon they lowered their guns and walked back across a gap in the fence, Scioli said.

In Washington, D.C., State Department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said the encounter "stemmed from a momentary misunderstanding as to the exact location of the U.S.-Mexican border." (link)

Yeah. Those Mexican soldiers didn't realize that the fence they had walked through - the only fence for miles around - separated their country from ours and that they were violating the law. They were just confused.

The State Department. This is another glaring indication that the enablers there are not on our side.

You Gotta Love ... Wives

They'll believe anything.

Take Elizabeth Edwards for example. The fact that her husband cheated on her - in effect, lying through his teeth about his fidelity to their marriage (while she was struggling with incurable cancer) - means nothing to her. She believes him now. This from her response to media events in recent days over at The Huffington Post:
John made a terrible mistake in 2006. The fact that it is a mistake that many others have made before him did not make it any easier for me to hear when he told me what he had done. But he did tell me. And we began a long and painful process in 2006, a process oddly made somewhat easier with my diagnosis in March of 2007. This was our private matter, and I frankly wanted it to be private because as painful as it was I did not want to have to play it out on a public stage as well. Because of a recent string of hurtful and absurd lies in a tabloid publication, because of a picture falsely suggesting that John was spending time with a child it wrongly alleged he had fathered outside our marriage, our private matter could no longer be wholly private.

John has spoken in a long on-camera interview I hope you watch. Admitting one’s mistakes is a hard thing for anyone to do, and I am proud of the courage John showed by his honesty in the face of shame. (link)
How does Elizabeth Edwards know that her husband is telling the truth now? She just does.

"It'll never happen again, honey. It meant nothing."

"Well, okay then."

"I love you so much."

"I love you too, John."

I'm Still Shocked

I can't believe Bernie Mac has died.
Actor, comedian and exasperated dad Mac dies at 50
By Frazier Moore, My Way.com

Bernie Mac blended style, authority and a touch of self-aware bluster to make audiences laugh as well as connect with him. For Mac, who died Saturday at age 50, it was a winning mix, delivering him from a poor childhood to stardom as a standup comedian, in films including the casino heist caper "Ocean's Eleven" and his acclaimed sitcom "The Bernie Mac Show."

Mac died Saturday morning from complications due to pneumonia in a Chicago area hospital, his publicist, Danica Smith, said in a statement from Los Angeles. She said no other details were available.

"The world just got a little less funny," said "Oceans" co-star George Clooney. (link)

A real talent. Bernie Mac was fun to watch.