Saturday, March 26, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Spring is upon us (not that you could tell by the weekend's weather), bringing snows that melt and rivers that overflow, income tax forms that must be filled out and filed, and of course that most dreaded of warm weather calamities ... spring cleaning. This task is particularly difficult for me this year as the cleaning required is more in the nature of a mental one. No, its not that I have a dirty mind (well OK, maybe), but simply because there is far too much clutter rattling around in the otherwise empty storage area that I call a head for me to wander around it the way I like to. This is not a condition that I am fond of, as it seems to cause endless bouts of stumbling in the dark up there. I have therefore decided that it's time to clear some of it out. So in no order of importance and with no conscious agenda that I am aware of, I place these thoughts on the table before setting them aside for proper recycling or disposal:

  • Republicans in State governments are seen to be attacking unions, and unions are returning the compliment by attacking Republicans in those state governments. The battle is one over the compensation packages of unionized state workers, and the claim is that it's being fought to balance state budgets. I find it curious that the party claiming fiscal responsibility and chipping away at compensation of those working under legally negotiated contracts are doing so without once touching their own lavish compensation packages.
  • While we're talking about the benefits that certain government workers get, can we please define how many vacation days that the president gets? I mean come on! Most jobs give you 2-3 weeks in your first year of employment, but this President seems lately hardly to be working more than that in his first years in office. Don't get me wrong here, most of us are normally far better off when politicians are taking time off from their normal foolishness and misdeeds; but if they're only going to work half of the year, maybe we could start paying them only for the time they work.
  • Many of the same legislators who had a lot to say when this country took military action in Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan are curiously silent as we ramp up our efforts in Libya. Not only are they silent on its justification, but few if any are talking about the cost of Tomahawk cruise missiles and jet fuel. Is this inconsistent ideology, political expediency, or simple hypocrisy?
  • I have officially had it with the NCAA basketball tournament! Apparently in spite of this being the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, geography is not a subject being taught in the association. While I understand that one of the goals is to balance the brackets and even the chances for all schools in the tournament, but east coast teams playing in west coast brackets and vice versa seems ridiculous. And playing the Southwestern finals Richmond, VA is wrong on so many different levels that I have trouble talking about it. Could we please pretend that the compass matters and that geography is not subject entirely to the whims of television ratings (or simply drop the geographic element from the tournament entirely)?
  • Can we please stop pretending that red light cameras are about safety and not about revenue? If the politicians actually believe this and are not just hiding behind political expediency, let them donate the money earned by such devices to charity to prove it. If the cameras are about the revenue however and not the driver safety that they attempt to defend these nefarious photographic accusers with, let those cities using them stop pretending otherwise.
  • Does anybody else remember that the government took great pains to break up the monopoly on providing phone service in this country? Of course now that we've all moved on to cell phones, the fact that more and more of the land line phone companies have merged again doesn't mean much; but the fact that cell phone companies are doing the same might be an issue. Sprint bought Nextel, AT&T just bought T-Mobile, and now it looks like Verizon will buy Sprint. I thought the concept was to inspire competition. How does that happen when companies are just buying them?
  • Chad Ocho Cinco is trying out for the professional soccer team in Kansas City. (A team called Sporting KC, catchy huh?) It's not like I needed another excuse not to watch professional soccer (which I find about as exciting as watching the grass on the field of play growing); but if I did, having to watch this pompous ass would have provided it.
  • How many different ways can you spell a Libyan dictator's last name? In the last few days I've see Gaddafi, Qaddafi, Gadhafi, Khaddafi, and Qadhafi. I mean Jeez, can we all just pick one spelling and agree on it? How about we just go with whatever Muammar (for which there are also apparently multiple spellings) usually goes with, or what he uses when he signs his next ultimatum or execution order?
  • Speaking of names ... the end of an era is approaching and it makes me rather sad. First Carty Finkbeiner lost his job as mayor of Toledo, and now Mark Funkhouser is about to lose his job as mayor of Kansas City. The current mayor didn't make the cut in the primary and will be replaced in May by mayor-elect Sly James. While having a mayor named Sly certainly has some potential for comment, it's just not going to be the same without the raised eyebrows every time someone from out-of-town hears the mayor's name. l guess I'll just have to move to another city that has a mayor with a goofy last name. (Hey, I wonder if Muammar is looking for new gig?)

Wow, this spring cleaning thing feels kind of good! There's definitely a bit more room in here now, and the straight line path between my ears once again holds little in the way of resistance to the nonsense attempting to penetrate (and immediately thereafter, escape).

1 comment:

Roland Hansen said...

You make some very good points here, Tim.
Thanks for the food for thought.