The [Wednesday] Papers
"They do have a license to steal," Robert Scheer writes today at Truthdig. "There is no other way to read Tuesday's report from the New York state comptroller that bonuses for Wall Street financiers rose 17 percent to $20.3 billion in 2009. Of course that is less than the $32.9 billion for bonus rewards back in 2007, when those hotshots could still pretend that they were running sound businesses."
Meanwhile, the State of Illinois has a $12.8 billion deficit.
Hey, I've got an idea . . . there would even be money left over.
From the desk of Beachwood contributor Scott Buckner:
"Just got done watching Illinois Sen. John Cullerton on Good Day Chicago, where Dave Navarro and Jan Jeffcoat made a better attempt than I've seen from other news outlets to ask politicians to shut the hell up and actually answer a question.
"Cullerton said he is 'open to hearing anything' - particularly from the Republicans - to avoid a major income tax increase and to shave down the state's $12 billion open drain. According to Cullerton, even if the state fired ever single worker, that would represent only a savings of $4 billion.
"Cullerton wants ideas? How about his one: An apolitical bunch of regular citizens to go through the budget line by line cutting out, among other things, every single perk of the office that every single state legislator enjoys year in and year out. No free haircuts. Drive yourself to the goddamn airport in your own car and get nailed for long-term parking like he rest of us. Rent your own apartment and working space in Springfield. Buy your own fucking stamps. Put your own sorry ass up at the Motel 6 whenever you have to travel outside your home district, on your own dime. A pension for being a state legislator? Ha!!!! Regular workers don't get pensions; what makes them so damn special?
"If they don't like it, too fucking bad. Quit and do something else, then. Complain to the president and see how far it gets you just like the rest of us. Public service was designed to be a thankless job to be done by people looking to do the public's business, not theirs.
"Illinois is bankrupt. Time for people like Sen. Cullerton to really start sucking it up just like the rest of us. If they don't want to, it's time for the townspeople to start picking up the torches and pitchforks. 'Kill the monster!!!' is starting to sound pretty fucking good right about now."
America is angry, my friends. Deservedly so.
Good Will Hunting
Or, you might say, health-care reform is in peril because the vast majority of Massachusettians (?) rejected it. Massachusetts!
"Ted Kennedy, the 60th Democrat in the Senate, died and was replaced by a Republican."
Replaced? I thought Scott Brown was elected . . . you know, by voters.
"That's what changed the political equation in Congress, that's what ground momentum on reform to a halt. A sweeping loss of appetite for comprehensive reform it was not."
Massachusetts voters weren't paying attention to Congress's health-care bill at all! They had no idea! They were just, you know, replacing Ted Kennedy.
The Sun-Times goes on to cite a Kaiser Family Foundation poll "affirming" that "at least 60 percent of Americans of all political stripes - Democrats, Republicans and Independents - support key elements of reform."
Even Republicans back measures such as prohibiting the denial of insurance to those with pre-existing conditions, yada yada yada. The president could have passed a bill in his first month in office enacting the 80 to 90 percent of elements he's always saying everyone agrees on.
And Kaiser reports itself that its poll shows Americans split right down the middle (43-43) on health-care legislation. Just like Congress.
Yet, the Sun-Times writes "Carry on, President Obama. In a democracy, the majority rules."
First, I don't know how the Sun-Times does math, but I fail to see a majority here. Second, if the majority simply ruled, we wouldn't have a First Amendment but we would have President George Gallup.
Finally, polls are hardly reliable indicators of public opinion given the wide variance that often depends on what questions are asked and how. On Tuesday, for example, Rasmussen Reports said it had found that 56 percent of those polled opposed the president's health care plan, while 41 percent supported it. Given the Sun-Times's embrace of majoritarianism, will it now oppose the bill?
Tommy Boy's Cubs
The Beachwood Tip Line: In the air.
Posted on February 24, 2010
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