Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Reverse-Reverse-Reverse This

Today's headline on CNN is "Assertive Obama may reverse Bush policies".

I sat and pondered this headline. Actually, there are various things that the Obama team has discussed...where they will actually pass by the Bush administration, so I am expecting the following headlines on CNN within weeks:

"Assertive Obama may reverse Clinton policies"

"Assertive Obama may reverse Bush I policies"

"Assertive Obama may reverse Reagan policies"

"Assertive Obama may reverse Carter policies"

"Assertive Obama may reverse Nixon policies"

"Assertive Obama may reverse Johnson policies"

"Assertive Obama may reverse Kennedy policies"

"Assertive Obama may reverse Wilson policies"

"Assertive Obama may reverse Lincoln policies"

"Assertive Obama may reverse Jackson policies"

"Assertive Obama may reverse Washington policies"

Somewhere down the line, as we watch this game unfold and the dimwits of CNN and various networks eventually "get-smart" (in the literal sense)....they will have to admit various policies that Obama appears to reverse....goes beyond just twenty years and maybe even one hundred years.

The comedians will eventually emerge and realize how stupid this entire game is...and start asking if Truman can be really reversed or if some Truman-rule exists that demands that you collect all the marbles before you advance. Can you reverse anyone or you simply rewriting the rules in its entirety?

The final cherry upon this cake? Can the man after Obama....reverse-reverse Obama? Only the comedians can write such a scenario...but its likely to happen.


Today, I turned 50.

It is not much of an announcement and I don't really care for the uproar of reaching this grand age. It won't be written into stone or granite or snow.

If you had asked me my feelings at twenty-one...of turning fifty...I would have paused for moment and probably said that I had doubts that I'd reach that remarkable age. Self-doubt, or simply limited vision to see that far....take your pick.

I don't see it as a big deal. I won't fire off any shotguns, or guzzle down a fifth of Johnny Walker scotch or even eat my favorite meal of catfish and hush-puppys. I might have a light glass of Lambrusco wine and maybe watch a favorite video tonight. Thats about it.

I see fifty as a final hump. I have probably five to ten years of decent health left and then a probable downturn. I've accomplished the vast amount of what I wanted to do in life....say seventy percent....and can be fairly satisfied at this point in life. I've written a fair number of blogs, and maybe I've got another thousand to go. I've eaten fine Italian food and some damn good steaks. I've traveled across Europe and the US, and probably have seen more in my life than the normal guy from Bama.

I was destined as a kid in Bama to walk a far distance. I was the quiet kid who sat in the back rows of the classroom...never made trouble....and just passed my tests without alot of worry. I didn't show signs of genius or remarkable talents at much of anything except writing or history.

When I eventually left the Bamaland...there was no vision, no dreams, no imagination of where I'd be in five or ten or thirty years. I've kinda gone where the wind has blown me. I haven't fought off lions or Democrats or aliens. I haven't learned how to dance, or hunt elephants, or to juggle. I am what I am.

So this birthday will come and go....ever so quietly, and I will seek the evening hours as this quickly passes. My grandfather reached 100. My dad is still climbing on top of barn tin roofs and mending fences in his late 70s. I may be cursed to live a long damn time....and thats hardly a fantasy of mine.

Counties in America

A moment of analysis and wonder. There are a total of 3,141 counties in America (yes, to include those dang parishes in Louisiana as well).

They range from 9.8 million (LA County, CA) down to 67 folks in Loving county, Texas. The curious thing is that each had to run an election effort this past week, and have general elections locally.

Delaware is the luckiest place...where only three counties exist. Those folks in Texas? Well...its 254 counties total. Evenness or fairness in division of counties? No....there never has been and never will be.

Are there cases where counties today....would be better off merged into an adjoining country? Yes, without any doubt. I can name over a dozen counties in Bama alone...that ought to be merged and combined...to save money and funding. But there is no practical desire from any political party to accomplish something like this.

While we may all want to chat and stand in wonder of the fifty state concept....being really proud of our state.....it is a remarkable wonder to appreciate how 3,141 counties work.

Postal Spiral

Somewhere in the midst of news today...is a rather short and simple report concerning the US Postal Service. Even with the stamp raise...they lost around $2 billion somewhere....so they are now considering the cuts of personnel. The hint here...involve 40,000 postal service jobs.

They go onto suggest that across the board...from carriers to clerks to personal support....these cuts will come.

What should we expect? I doubt seriously that Saturday operations continue on. I also doubt that home delivery will continue with five days a week. It'll likely come within a year or two that most folks get home delivery three days a week, and just accept the situation.

My dad worked the mail for over thirty years and ran the daily route. Everyone was set into mindset over their social security, disability, and pension checks coming to them on time. I can readily remember my dad getting a call on Friday night from one of his "customers" who was absolutely desperate to get their check....which in their mind...it should have been delivered that day. My dad would give them sixty seconds of pleasant discussion and explain how it just didn't come and point the finger straight at the social security folks. He'd often have to listen to how they were down to the last dollar and just no food left in the house, but there really wasn't anything for him to do.

Today, the vast majority of folks are required to have bank accounts and the check is easily deposited on the right day....and even day prior for some folks. The idea of running the daily mail route from Monday to Friday.....just isn't of the same value. So I'm guessing as this 40,000 man cut occurs...some locations find the reason and logic to shift to four days a week of mail delivery. Some folks won't be happy, but if the post office is open for business and could handle the various odd-ball transactions on a five-day basis...then the carrier business could shift to four days a week and have a dramatic savings on fuel usage.

What would my dad say? He'd likely have no problem in a four-day work week and a twenty-percent cut in pay....if he was working today. That would have allowed another entire day for farm operations or flea market actvity. Life would go on.

The Advancing "Thud"

So a drumroll please. There were magnificent changes in the wind....as of a week ago....expected by over half of America. Yes, change was coming.

Somewhere over this weekend....reality and a "thud" were heard. It was observed off the BarackObama.com site that the great listing of twenty-five major areas that were going to be "changed"...had been removed. Yes, the topics of immigration, Afghanistan, Iraq, taxes, urban policy, national security, etc.....all removed. The quote standing there on the site, "retooling the site".

So this is the "thud" and reality....the boys at the top of the Obama team quickly assessed that the majority of things they really pumped up during the campaign....cost money. Because of the banking crisis, the $750 billion being handed out, the next stimulus package, and the saving of the big-3 auto makers....there really isn't cash to do much of anything else in 2009 or 2010. So as they removed the topics....they are hoping that the media just smiles and waves....thus forgetting any of the "promises" made.

What should you expect? It will be a wonderul swearing in ceremony and several magnificent speeches rendered over the month of January and February. At least thirty presidential executive orders (involving no cost) will be handed out. Anticipate the end of the Cuba embargo and the allowing of gays in the military to be amongst these. Expect the halt to drilling for oil in the Caribbean....thus going back to the 2007 rules that everyone knew of.

The massive changes and program shifts? President Obama will appoint various teams and have special task forces in action....but all are in the research and advise situation. Don't expect any of them to respond back until January 2010, and the final presidential policy will be issued in the spring of 2010....with the congress arguing over half the items, and an election campaign charged up on Obamaism but feeling the pinch of an economy that has yet to recover.

The adding of the Republicans into the cabinet? This really slows down the concept of massive change. At the minimum side of this situation...will be one Republican in the entire cabinet....with some folks predicting two and even possibly three. The more near center that the administration goes....the less likely of gigantic changes. The best you can say is that small simple changes will be the norm after all of the presidential executive orders are pumped out.

The Fairness Doctrine? Puzzling here is that Obama has actually said he doesn't favor changing this. I suspect that he realizes the shift of conservative talk-show hosts to satellite and internet radio....and a huge device to use against the 2012 campaign. So don't expect any real changes....at least my humble opinion at this moment. This might change....but who knows.

So in the long run....his tactics are the same as you saw in the Illinois state house and the two years as a senator...no real production or legislation. The executive orders will get enough done to convince folks of "change" although the reality is that you haven't seen anything of substance...so the Obama period will be safe and might even survive into 2013.