Ryan’s Urgent Need for Frank Luntz

Give me a break!

From “Ryan Says Requesting Stimulus Funds Was a Mistake,” Trip Gabriel, The Caucus, NYT:

“Representative Paul D. Ryan said on Thursday it was a mistake to have requested funds in 2009 from the federal stimulus bill after voting against it.

“Mr. Ryan earlier denied asking for money from the $787 billion stimulus on behalf of companies in his Wisconsin district, contradicting a report by the Boston Globe on Tuesday that he wrote to the federal Energy Department requesting funds for two companies to develop so-called green jobs.

“’No, I never asked for stimulus,’ Mr. Ryan said in an interview with WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, which was broadcast Thursday. Mr. Ryan, along with Mitt Romney,…have vociferously denounced the stimulus as an example of President Obama’s failure to restore the economy. The Congressional Budget Office said the stimulus increased employment by 1.3 million to 3.3 million people.

“Mr. Ryan said in the television interview that he did not recall writing the letters. Later, his office issued a statement that he had since checked into the letters. ‘They were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled,’ he said in the statement. ‘This is why I didn’t recall the letters earlier. But they should have been handled differently, and I take responsibility for that. Regardless, it’s clear that the Obama stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy, and now the President is asking to do it all over again.’’’

The newest pathetic GOP euphemism —  It’s not stimulus money, it’s constituent service.  Yeah, that’ll work.  Paging Frank Luntz…

If Ryan keeps twisting in the wind like this, he’ll be generating some energy, just not for the GOP ticket.

All Campaign, No Government

Congress won’t do anything significant between now and the election.  Then they’ll have a lame duck session and won’t do anything then either.  So the government is effectively shut down for the next nine months, till the end of January 2013.

I know some of us, mostly Republicans, think that’s a good thing because they want less government.  But they’re not getting less government, they’re getting outdated and inefficient government.  We desperately need reform in so many areas — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, energy, immigration, weapons systems, the tax code.

We pride ourselves on innovation and ingenuity in our business sector.  But what’s the point of having a dynamic private sector harnessed to a stagnant public sector?

Finally, a Criminal Charge in the BP Oil Spill

But it’s just an engineer, Kurt Mix, charged with obstruction of justice for deleting text messages about what was really going on.  While BP was publicly estimating the flow rate as 5,000 BOPD (barrels of oil per day), Mix was saying it exceeded 15,000.

But until top executives actually go to prison, nothing will change.  Fines, shmines.

Some Straight Talk on Oil

An excellent op-ed in the NYT today by Stephen Kelly, “Oil Under Our Noses.”

He points out that we’re now importing less than half of our oil, and of the imported oil, less than 20% comes from the Persian Gulf.  So when we talk about Iran threatening our oil supply, let’s remember that we’re talking about less than 10% of what we use.  Yes, prices would go up, but we could get what we need.

For other countries, it’s a bigger deal.  Kelly points out that 77% of Japan’s imported oil is from the Persian Gulf, while South Korea gets 74% and China 43%.  So let them do more to protect their sources.

Kelly argues:

“[W]e should review the estimated $50 billion a year we now spend to maintain a military presence in the Persian Gulf, not counting the cost of the wars we’ve been fighting in the region.

“[A]s we reassess what we can afford to do militarily in the world, countries that depend more directly on Persian Gulf oil should pay a larger share of the burden for keeping the region stable.”

This country too often does too much about things that really aren’t our problem, or should be somebody else’s problem as much as or more than it is ours.  Maybe it was our problem before (as when we got a lot more oil from the Persian Gulf), but we need to recognize and respond to changes in the world.


Update on Heating Oil Story

I went online to find a phone number for the heating oil company in the NYT story so I could call them tomorrow, and I discovered a lot of people have already called.  The Sun Journal of Maine is reporting* that Hometown Energy in Dixfield, Maine got calls from all over the country on Saturday, pledging donations that totaled almost six figures in just one day.  They are setting up a trust fund for the Hartfords and others like them.

Our government may suck, but we are still good people.

*”‘America has a heartbeart:’  Donations pour in for home heat,” by Erin Cox

How Desperate Is Newt?

So desperate that he’s telling the Iowa base he’d consider Sarah Palin for Veep.  Because, you know, that worked out so well for the GOP last time.

He also says she’d make a great Energy Secretary.  “I can’t imagine anybody who would do a better job of driving us to an energy solution than Governor Palin.”

I can’t imagine anybody who would do a worse job.  I think Palin is qualified for one of those non-union janitorial jobs Newtie is always touting.

Having cried himself on the campaign trail, I think Newtie is determined to make the rest of us cry (and scream and throw things).  Nothing like the word “Palin” to elicit that response.