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Poor Grover

I’ll bet he has a sad!

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), arguably the most prominent fiscal conservative in the Senate, is declaring his independence from one of the country’s leading anti-tax groups, Americans for Tax Reform – and its fiery founder, Grover Norquist.

Coburn, a member of the “Gang of Six” bipartisan group working on a deficit reduction plan, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he’d favor a “net” increase in tax revenue if it didn’t include hiking rates. He’d do so even if didn’t include a dollar-for-dollar match in spending cuts he agreed to when he signed a 2004 pledge to Norquist’s group.

“Which pledge is most important… the pledge to uphold your oath to the Constitution of the United States or a pledge from a special interest group who claims to speak for all American conservatives when, in fact, they really don’t?” Coburn asked. “The fact is we have enormous urgent problems in front of us that have to be addressed and have to be addressed in a way that will get 60 votes in the Senate… and something that the president will sign.”

“Where’s the compromise that will save our country?” he asked. “This isn’t about politics that is normal.”

The Y article

Hmm. As I was just saying recently, imagine if we as a country defined national security as the health, well-being, education and gainful employment of our citizens, and not as the ability to deliver bombs on targets.

I’m not surprised that someone else agrees — only that it’s two members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff saying so:

On Friday, April 8, as members of the U.S. Congress engaged in a last-minute game of chicken over the federal budget, the Pentagon quietly issued a report that received little initial attention: “A National Strategic Narrative.” The report was issued under the pseudonym of “Mr. Y,” a takeoff on George Kennan’s 1946 “Long Telegram” from Moscow (published under the name “X” the following year in Foreign Affairs) that helped set containment as the cornerstone of U.S. strategy for dealing with the Soviet Union.

The piece was written by two senior members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a “personal” capacity, but it is clear that it would not have seen the light of day without a measure of official approval. Its findings are revelatory, and they deserve to be read and appreciated not only by every lawmaker in Congress, but by every American citizen.

The narrative argues that the United States is fundamentally getting it wrong when it comes to setting its priorities, particularly with regard to the budget and how Americans as a nation use their resources more broadly. The report says Americans are overreacting to Islamic extremism, underinvesting in their youth, and failing to embrace the sense of competition and opportunity that made America a world power. The United States has been increasingly consumed by seeing the world through the lens of threat, while failing to understand that influence, competitiveness, and innovation are the key to advancing American interests in the modern world.

Courageously, the authors make the case that America continues to rely far too heavily on its military as the primary tool for how it engages the world. Instead of simply pumping more and more dollars into defense, the narrative argues:

By investing energy, talent, and dollars now in the education and training of young Americans — the scientists, statesmen, industrialists, farmers, inventors, educators, clergy, artists, service members, and parents, of tomorrow — we are truly investing in our ability to successfully compete in, and influence, the strategic environment of the future. Our first investment priority, then, is intellectual capital and a sustainable infrastructure of education, health and social services to provide for the continuing development and growth of America’s youth.

Teaching her a lesson

This story literally makes me sick. I’m guessing this is a “better” school district, as in “whiter”? Which would explain why it’s the first criminal prosecution, ever.

He’s got you on his mind

The rain stopped, it turned out to be a beautiful day, we went out to Easter dinner and then back home to watch a movie. And then, the season premiere of my very, very favorite show, “Treme.” In case you never saw it, it’s set in New Orleans after Katrina and the city’s music is deeply woven into the show. Tonight’s episode featured the Subdudes, which reminded me how much I like them:

Leave me alone

Ian Axel:

Nothing but a miracle

Diane Birch and Daryl Hall:

Roll away the stone

Mott the Hoople:

Resurrection

Patrick Devonas (1965-)
Allegory of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Oil on canvas

There’s a certain resonance to the symbolism in these religious celebrations. Who doesn’t ever think of leaving their past behind and being reborn? I’ve had to resurrect myself more often than I can remember, and I always had to go through the darkness first.

These are some damned awful times we’re living through. We got… well, nothing. No security at all, really. Nothing we can count on but ourselves, our loved ones and our friends — and of course, they’re all in the same boat. But it’s easier to row when you’re not the only one rowing.

And the material things we had were always an illusion, anyway — something sold to us on the teevee. We really don’t need the vast majority of the cheap plastic shit with which we fill our homes; come on, who really needs a 56″ flatscreen teevee, anyway? (Or the credit card payment that goes with it.)

The more you can let go of, the stronger you’ll be.

I’ve said before how very lucky I feel, that I’m already used to having so little. I have so much less to worry about! I feel such sympathy for anyone who can’t roll with the changes that are being imposed on us. As a friend puts it, “Depression is the thing that results when you use the word ‘should.’ ” We get stuck in the idea that things “should” have been different, damn it!

But they’re not. They’re only what they are.

So shed your skin, your attitude and anything else that weighs you down. Lighten your load. We made it through another winter in one piece, through the darkness and into the light. Celebrate that.

Here’s hoping this Easter finds you with people you love, and that it’s a beautiful spring day that lifts your spirits. Live in this moment, it’s all we ever had.

Wonderful world

From her last public performance. Eva Cassidy was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital shortly after, where she died from malignant melanoma:

Jesus Christ Superstar

Carl Anderson:

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