Can you feel it? Things are changing. There’s a cold bite to the air. Even the streets seem to have been made cleaner by the coming chill. Did the brisk winds sweep away litter? Or chase away people who have nowhere to sleep but the sidewalk? Either way, I’ll bet downtown SLO business owners are happy.
And it’s socially acceptable to be pasty and pudgy. Thank God, because my translucent tree-trunk legs falling out of my short-shorts were beginning to hurt the local tourism industry.
Even the sky looks different. It’s all full of neon blues and soft pinks. Hey, is that a rainbow? Nope, just a contrail from a missile. Where’d that come from?
Oh well, no one seems to know, but no one seems to care.
Tra, la, la. Perhaps it’s just Santa riding his rocket sled back up to the North Pole to check his list.
Just around the bend is that time of year, after the hellacious election season and barely remembered Halloween, where I’m just giddy and beside myself.
Awaiting me are smiling children, family dinners, and hours upon hours of shopping. I hope someone gets me a coma for Xmas this year.
It’s almost Thanksgiving after all, which for me means the traditional racist ravings of the relatives I try to forget I have and my cry-for-help performances on the nearest parking-garage rooftop.
Ah, the holidays, where I salt my eggnog with tears and try to pump out the cynical holiday grump in my stomach with … well … eggnog.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy is probably on board to do some bah-humbugging this year. Immediately after the Republican takeover of the previously Democratic House of Pansies—I mean Representatives—McCarthy announced he would be leveraging his chief deputy whip position to try to land the House majority whip title, which is the third highest seat in congress. If the president, vice president, house majority leader, and White House dog Bo all kick the bucket, McCarthy would be in line for the presidency. Or something like that—I get a little fuzzy on my constitutionality from time to time.
Over the past few months, McCarthy has been going head to head with Pres. Barack Obama over tax hikes he says will drive the country further into the pooper and cause every small business owner to go all Tiny Tim this holiday season. He even has a countdown clock on his website that was at 53 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes, and 50 seconds last time I looked. I mean 49 seconds. 48. 47. Well, you get the picture.
In a letter announcing his intention to run as the lead whipper in Congress, McCarthy warned that Republicans “must prepare for a White House in full campaign mode, a Democratic-controlled Senate, and a hostile media. Make no mistake: They will do whatever it takes to stop us. That is why we must be more strategic in our vision, more creative in our tactics, and more confident in our conviction.”
This type of gabbing really wedged far into Obama’s colon, because he went right back at McCarthy, saying the guy is defending a massive Bush-era tax cut for a wealthy two-percent chunk of small business owners who include Fortune 500 company heads and other execs at non-mom-and-pop outfits. McCarthy also riled the left by helping to champion the Pledge to America, which is the Boy Scout handbook equivalent to blasé political fear mongering.
The morning of Nov. 11, when my column hit the streets, I realized I goofed. Stan Saylor was elected as the house majority whip, and he is a Republican, but he was elected to the post in the Pennsylvania Legislature, not the U.S. House. But I got everything else right.
No dice, though. McCarthy got passed up for Stan Saylor, a New England dork and 18-year representative of Pennsylvania’s 94th District.
I know we haven’t always seen eye to eye, Kevin—mostly because I imagine you’re much taller than me and too attractive to even exist on the same plane—but that’s a real bummer, dude. I don’t know much about this Saylor guy, other than he looks like a Sears portrait shot of Al Gore’s dad, but I guess it’s just one more chump who has to bite it before you can taste some sweet presidential candy.
Back here in good ol’ California, things are changing, too. Things are changing back, in fact. Governor-elect Jerry Brown is once again filling the butt imprints on the governor seat he left behind 27 years ago. He’s got his work cut out for him. By the latest estimates, the state is already $12 billion shy of solvency. And that’s the good news. Some think that by the time the legislative financial nerds do the real number crunching, we’re probably looking at a $20 billion deficit. Once again.
I feel like I’ve said this before, but the state seems like it’s running out of money to lose, and it always seems to be about $20 billion in the red. Up in Sac Town, they’re going to be slightly more flummoxed this year than in years past. With propositions 22, 25, and 26 all winning, the state can’t borrow money from local transportation funds and the like. It only takes a simple majority to pass a budget, but any tax increases will require two-thirds approval. Basically, don’t expect a solution to the budget any sooner this year than in the past five or so apocalyptic budgetary cycles.
It appears that Brown has been meeting with some of the Republican bigwigs in an attempt to reach a bi-partisan approach, including our own Sen. Sam Blakeslee. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tried the same thing during his stint, and all we got out of it was a cigar tent where all the legislators have a safe place to be old and white.
What’s your favorite thing to gripe about this time of year? Tell the Shredder at firstname.lastname@example.org.