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Observations from the Cheap Seats

  • More people oppose this stimulus package than now support it.  Republican Senators would be well served to heed this message – vote for this stimulus package and risk being challenged in a Republican primary.  There is nothing redeeming about this bill, as currently drafted, and, hopefully, the U.S. Senate is as aware of this fact as the American public apparently has become.
  • Most stringent ethics standards in American history?  Hmmm.  Let me suggest that while setting a high ethical bar is important, its relative importance is marginalized when you don’t meet the standards.  Put another way, it’s like a track coach who sets the high jump bar at 9 feet and then argues that this fact alone justifies his claim that he has the best high jumpers in the conference, despite the fact that not one of them can high jump higher than 5 feet.
  • Laugh as we might about Joe Biden’s propensity to flap his jaws at inopportune times, it is apparent that he was right when he predicted during the campaign that then-Senator Obama would be tested early and often by America’s enemies.  Iran has responded to covert and overt attempts to open a dialogue by asserting that such efforts signal America’s weakness.  Afghanistan and Pakistan are presenting larger and larger problems for the region, their neighbors and the United States, with the Russians playing a more pronounced role in challenging American interests.  Ironically, Iraq is the picture of stability amongst a cauldron of unrest spanning from Egypt to Asia Minor.
  • Now, it looks as if Leon Panetta was a well-paid speaker and consultant prior to his nomination to be America’s top-spy – $700,000 worth of speaking and consulting last year alone.  I, frankly, don’t care – if he can make that kind of money making people think that he has something worthwhile to say, then who am I to complain. 
  • I do have an issue, however, with the Obama Administration today capping the income levels that could be paid to executives of publicly-held corporations, who will prospectively benefit from government intervention.  What?  Isn’t establishing executive compensation a job for the company’s board of directors, with shareholder input if solicited?  The message is – make a ton of money and go work for Obama, no problem; make a ton of money and work for companies creating jobs for Americans, big problem.

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