Something I heard this morning

I don't want to take up alot of space on the boards. There's lots of voices who want to be heard. Folks who want to talk about the stimulus package, the President's speech, and all the elements in play today.

I just wanted to post my diary today. Will edit it instead of making multiple posts.

I apologize for two things this morning right off the bat.

I will definately be reading the comments but might save the responses for the diary. You aren't being ignored here. Not at all.


The first part of this entry might make folks think, "What a waste." Thing is I'm a writer. Not by nature a political writer though. And well I think that when you write something? It should have a good beginning.

Now when you read this you may say to yourself," Now how in hades is this a good thing?" And you'd be right. It doesn't sound good at first. But the thing is when you are engaged in conflict resolutions, when you are trying to find real solutions for groups with sometimes vastly different opinions on what those solutions are? It's a really good idea to have a clear picture of the parties involved.

That's where this diary entry begins.

I think the words are--

"We the people..."

Dear government,

Incase you didn't notice. "We the people" is suffering under some rather bleak conditions. And well the future don't look so good.

As a matter of fact we woke up thinking about last November's elections and whistling this song...

",,,Sunshine go away today,
I don't feel much like dancin'
Some man's gone, he's tried to run my life
Don't know what he's askin'

He tells me I'd better get in line
Can't hear what he's sayin'
When I grow up, I'm gonna make it mine
These ain't dues I been payin'

How much does it cost? I'll buy it.
The time is all we've lost. I'll try it.
He can't even run his own life,
I'll be damned if he'll run mine

Sunshine go away today,
I don't feel much like dancin'
Some man's gone, he's tried to run my life
Don't know what he's askin'

Working starts to make me wonder where
fruits of what I do are going
He says in love and war all is fair
He's got cards he ain't showin'

How much does it cost? I'll buy it.
The time is all we've lost. I'll try it.
He can't even run his own life,
I'll be damned if he'll run mine

Sunshine come on back another day
I promise you I'll be singin'
This old world she's gonna turn around
brand new bells'll be ringin',,,"

And as you may have noticed when you were making your decisions up in Washington, there was a new landscape. Alot of "...brand new bells..." were indeed ringing.

Maybe for some folks this is about scoring points.
Maybe for some folks this is about winning.

But for a whole lot of other folks on both side of the issue it's about having roofs over their heads and food in their mouths.

But as we were whistling this song? We went outside to feed the animals and get the paper.  We saw the miracle that folks can take for granted everyday.

We saw the dawning of a new day and the miracle of free speech.

Oh and we also saw our neighbor slapping his newly planted tree with the editorial page.

He's a hoot. You should meet him.

Now about that stimulus package.

Regards from the rest of the country.

To Be Continued...

There's more...

Somewhere in America

Senate delay on stimulus 'irresponsible': Obama

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.

Somewhere in America, a man loses the job he has held for more than thirty years.  Somewhere in America, a woman cleans out the office she had occupied for close to a decade.  Elsewhere in the United States, a teen unsuccessfully tries to find work.  He knows he needs to help his Mom and Dad; each toiled in the factory that closed just down the street.  A young woman searches for a professional position, just as she has for the two years since she graduated form the University.  Each of these individuals is not startled by the headline, Economy Shed 598,000 Jobs in January.   All ask, where have the "experts," Economists, and elected officials been?

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Salvaging The Stimulus

Well, it looks like the fate of Obama's economic recovery plan is in the hands of a "centrist" cadre of Senators to strip the bill of much of its spending to make it palatable to every Democratic Senator and a handful of Republicans. That bi-partisan (cuz that's been working out so well) group is being led by the right of center Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Susan Collins (R-ME.)

A bipartisan group of senators worked furiously in backroom negotiations on Thursday to cut the cost of the roughly $900 billion economic stimulus plan. Senate Democratic leaders said they would await the outcome of those talks before calling for a final vote on the measure, perhaps on Friday.

Members of the bipartisan group, led by Senators Ben Nelson, Democrat of Nebraska, and Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said they wanted to trim provisions that would not quickly create jobs or encourage spending by consumers and businesses. They spent much of the day scrutinizing the 736-page bill and wrangling over what to cut.

By early evening, aides said the group had drafted a list of nearly $90 billion in cuts, including $40 billion in aid for states, $4.1 billion to make federal buildings energy efficient and $1.5 billion for broadband Internet service in rural areas. But they remained short of a deal, and talks were expected to go all night.

In fact, it looks like talks will resume in the morning, as Senator McCaskill tweeted earlier tonight:

Its harder than it looks to get the handful of R votes we MUST have AND keep the Ds happy. Back at it in am. about 2 hours ago from TinyTwitter

Her tweets from earlier in the day seem to have tracked with the general shifting momentum of the bill as the day progressed.

Man am I tired. Working all day to find enough R votes to get this thing to conference. I confess I'm cranky. about 2 hours ago from TinyTwitter

Just came from meeting with moderate Sens, both D and R. Optimistic that we are going to get this done and pass the essential recov act. about 11 hours ago from web

In the meantime, Barack Obama went to speak to House Democrats tonight and seemed to return to "fired up!" campaign mode. While the administration was busy reaching a hand across the aisle that was never taken, the Republicans were busy outgunning Democrats on TV demonizing the stimulus as a big spending bill and calling for more tax cuts as the answer. Thus the position Democrats currently find themselves in. Glad to see the president back on his game, saying things that he should have been saying all along, such as:

Then you get the argument, this isn't a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill. What do you think a stimulus is? That's the whole point.

Watch it (h/t Ben Smith):

You'll recall both during the primary and the general, Obama always performed better when he was down. He thrives in times of adversity. Well, the Republicans certainly have provided a big dose of that. Welcome back, Mr. President.

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Break Up the Stimulus Package -- An FDR Approach

Cross posted at DailyKos

Regarding that stimulus package... I think we're going about this the wrong way.  The past few years have clearly shown that the American people want things to change in this country.  They want politicians to change the way they do things in Washington.  

We've got a crisis.  A huge, complicated multifaceted problem that developed over a long period of time.  There is no silver bullet that will solve it.  So why are we treating the problem that way by using this quasi silver bullet stimulus package?

It's not working for us.  It has become just like the huge omnibus spending bills that are the epitomy of "typical Washington".  We've lost the forest through the trees as the Republicans tramp through the forest with media teams shouting "Look at this tree!  The Democrats are going to spend 20 billion dollars to save this tree!  It's not a tree worth saving!  Americans don't want that tree!" 

Democrats have lost control of this bill and it's now being driven by the Republican minority.  I think there is a better approach.  

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If stimulus bill passes tonight, what lessons can we draw from the stimulus fight?

Here a simplified timeline of the stimulus battle, and where it currently stands:

1. House passes bill with virtually 100% progressive items and zero support from partisan Republicans.  

2. Public sees Republicans as highly obstructionist.

3. Senate bill starts off more than $100 Billion larger than House bill - now at $925 Billion

4. Moderate Senate Republicans balk that bill is too large and ask to trim "tens of Billions of fat" from the bill.

5. Group of moderate Senators on both sides of the aisles get together to trim fat and to guarantee passage of the stimulus package with virtually all important aspects of the House bill intact and trimmed by the same $110 Billion Dollars the Senate bill started out LARGER than the House bill ended up being.

Some key elements and quotes of today's developments: tent/article/2009/02/05/AR2009020501622_ 2.html

Obama assailed "misguided criticisms" of the stimulus plan that he said echo the "failed theories" that helped create the crisis, notably reliance on tax cuts as a cure-all.

Here Obama dismisses conservative trickle-down theory in the form of tax-cuts, primarily for the wealthy, as an utter failure. Thus the Republican version of Economics 101 is wiped off the table.  

Next comes the whip:

In response,  Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the majority whip, said, "This notion from the other side of the aisle that tax cuts solve everything has failed." He said it was part of the Bush administration's "failed policies" that have mired the nation in its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. He cited President George W. Bush's insistence on "sending tax cuts to the wealthiest people in America and waging a war without paying for it."

Here Durbin echoes Obama's sentiments of the Republican's tax-cut solution as an utter failure, fleshing it out further to explain the disastrous effects the failed economic theories instituted by Republicans had on the economy.  Invoking Bush's name here and reminding everybody who was in charge over the last 8 years is always a good thing, sure to get the public to agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed.

Eighteen senators, including five Republicans, expect to spend hours at the table, but the amendment they hope to produce could attract enough support to guarantee Senate passage with the bipartisan backing that Obama has sought.

Obama met yesterday with the two leaders of the group,  Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and  Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), and urged them to try to find common ground. Collins said she discussed specific provisions with Obama and that the two had haggled over items, but left with the impression that the president was prepared to make his own sacrifices to push the bill over the finish line.

If the bill is amended enough to trim $100 Billion to bring it close to the House version of the bill in terms of spending it would pacify a handful of moderate Republicans and the Democratic blue dogs and get the bill passed.

Democratic leaders said they hoped to vote on a number of amendments today, with a vote on final passage possibly coming tonight.

"There's good reason to hope we might finish this bill this evening," said  Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Obama, in an op-ed piece published in today's Washington Post, urged lawmakers to hurry up.

Folks, this thing might be OVER tonight. Collins' comments are encouraging, and if she is brought on board you know Snowe is already on the ship.  

If this thing is indeed going to happen tonight, as it seems possible, perhaps likely, now, what lessons can be learned from it?

Here is the real lesson of the stimulus fight, and it could provide a good model for future overhauls:

1. Don't worry about Republicans in the House. Get your bill passed and paint flailing and hyperventilating Republicans as obstructionist.

2. Start the corresponding Senate bill off 8% to 10% higher than the House bill, then agree to trim said 8% to 10% as fat to get moderates on board.  Be prepared to cave on a few items that moderates might see as frivolous spending.

3. Paint the opposition's desired policies as historic failures, not to be repeated now or ever.  Call for swift passage of the bill to avoid an economic disaster.

I think that if the bill passes tonight on the strength of the 14 moderates coming to an agreement on the bill, this could serve as a model to get other contentious bills passed, first and foremost a universal health care reform bill.

There's more...


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