Greetings and salutations from the sand, sun and surf of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and the sunny, cool, dry and gorgeous island of Nantucket! Great to be with you on this Saturday morning, the 26th day of July, 2014, just in time for cartoons, and that is what you will get if you turn on the old television set or read this blog. Do we still use those things anymore? Paul Ryan, the wonderful congressman from the great state of Wisconsin sure does, him being a real ’serious thinker’ regarding the poor and all. You see it seems the throw back cast member of the hit ’60’s comedy show, the “Munster’s”, is trying to help the down and out of this great, rich nation, with some little minded GOP dwarfs in both chambers of Congress. A Congress that the Founding Fathers would be ashamed of.
“You’re going the wrong way!” (a young couple screams out of their window at a vehicle on the other side of the median, the other car flying at a high rate of speed down said highway, again heading, tragically--the wrong way. Inside that rental car is one John Candy and Steve Martin, unlikely bedfellows in the timeless struggle to ‘get back home’, to Chicago, presented beautifully in the classic 1987 film, “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”). “They’re saying we are going the wrong way…”, to wit ‘Del Griffith’, quips, “Oh she’s probably drunk, how would she know where we’re going?”. “Yeah, how would she know? Thank you”… (snobby businessman ‘Neal Page’ waves his hand in ‘thanks’ to the good Samaritans as they plummet towards two semi tractor trailer trucks at 90 m.p.h). I know the GOP has some sense of what side of the road reason is on, but this is ridiculous…or am I being too obtuse?
Broad state block grants don’t work. According to Robert Greenstein, CBPP President and Founder, congressman Paul Ryan’s most recent rewrite (a new ‘draft’), of his bestseller, especially in Detroit, “Pathway to Prosperity”, republicans and the one percent, not yours, is nothing more than a big, steaming pile of hor$e$hit. And his comment on the matter of Mr. Ryan’s sociology report went something like this–”…states would get their hands on money that is now going for basic food stamp benefits or basic rental assistance to avoid homelessness and they could use it for a whole array of purposes. At it’s worst, he puts in there some programs that are really developer programs, so that at a local level, local officials could take some of the food stamp money and they could actually use it to make deals with local real estate and commercial developers to do things like build shopping centers on the end of low income areas. Yes, it may be useful to do pilot projects and experiment. But, as far as I’m concerned, one of the greatest social achievements of this country in the last half century has been the near elimination of severe child hunger and malnutrition. Largely attributable to the food stamp program and it’s entitlement status of automatic response for need. And any plan that blows that up, something Paul Ryan has been trying to do in his budget, for years, is not a path we should go down (path for prosperity,,, not mother?). Now, if he is willing to take out of his plan food stamps, and let that be as the core nutrition safety plan for poor families, kids and seniors, and to find some protection for rental vouchers so we don’t have more homelessness, then we could look at some of these kinds of ideas. But that’s not what the plan is. He combines all of these things into a mega state grant, and he says it would be the same amount of resources as under today’s law. Well that’s not true for two reasons I think. Number one, you wouldn’t get the automatic increases in real time when the need goes up like in recessions. And number two, we have a thirty year history where in the Senate, we take all kinds of disparate programs and throw them together in one big block grant. It always starts with the same amount of money, but these block grants are so disparate and diverse that the history is clear. They end up with big reduction in funding over the decade and they don’t compete well with other programs…” So the seven GOP dwarfs assigned to ‘helping’ the poor are being called out for who they really are, well, their names should tell you all you need to know on that front. That’s right, “Slimy”, “Shady”, “Sleazy”, “Wheezy”, “Boastful”, “Greedy” and our aforementioned pal “Sad”. The pictured little thought ring leader of the crew, ever putting a frown on ‘the American people’s faces! Pity that. At least Snow White released “Happy” into the wild. Knowing, as he flips the bird to the scary members of that GOP, shouting at the top of his lungs, “…you’re all just tiny minded wipers of other people’s bottoms’!” (credit the classic 1975 film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”), you just can’t talk to a crazy person, especially one that does not think he, or she, is crazy. For is that not what the plutocrats want? The Holy Grail? Coming in the form of a government they would ’shrink down to the size where we could drown it in a bathtub’? (credit Grover Norquist). Turning back the tide on that American exceptional(ism) they speak of so often, i.e. the way we treat each other and the world, turning this nation into a serf state as it kills the planet for profit. Have a great rest of the week end folks and we will, God willing, SEA you right next week--same bat time, same bat channel! PRESERVE THE WILDERNESS! Peace~M