08.09.13 | Comments Off

Weary with Syria

The President tells the collective us,
“don’t just sit there, do something!”
We respond, “okay, but how do we
punish those who use poison gas
without hurting innocent people?

He doesn’t say he has a plan that
won’t work if it’s revealed in advance.
He just releases more awful pictures
and promises “precision attacks,
with no boots on the ground.”

He blames our reluctance on distrust,
war fatigue, or concern about the deficit;
acts like a suitor trying to prove his love,
while the target of his affection just
wants to know if he has a real job.

09.04.13 | Comments Off

Bye-Bye Barack

He was our first black president,
and that was a major achievement,
but he didn’t have to stop with that.

He could have worked harder to fix
the economy, or tried again to explain
what he did for medical care.

Instead he’s using token gun control
to distract us from another attempt
to trade social security for a budget.

Instead of warring with Republicans
and risking all, he’s shaping his legacy.
He’ll be renowned like Monty Hall.

13.03.13 | Comments Off

Not Buyin’ Ryan

Paul’s healthcare plans are heartless,
his math’s dim-witted and he’s afraid
to list the tax reforms he’d make.

Instead of The Path To Prosperity
He should have called this absurdity
The Yellow Brick Road.

26.02.13 | Comments Off

Pilgrim’s Progress

We hit the ceiling,
fell over the cliff, now
we’re sequestered.

This headachy, bruised,
claustrophobic country
lurches back and forth
under the inept guidance
of the worst lawmakers
ever to hold an office.

They are all such klutzes,
maybe they’ll drop it.

23.02.13 | Comments Off

Infringing the Rights of Others

We began to win the battle against tobacco
when second-hand smoke became the enemy.
Perhaps instead of trying to control guns we
should target their collateral damage.

There are so many already, banning more
of a particular type seems pointless. Though
smaller magazines and background checks
would help, there’s a lot more we can do.

Our nation’s good at litigation so let’s make
gun manufacturers, sellers and owners legally
responsible for safety. NRA will fight it,
but lawyers and insurers could join the fray.

It would probably be a losing battle, but
the advertising might help teach the public
how risky weapons can be, and persuade
some gun owners to kick a dangerous habit.

13.02.13 | Comments Off

Hard To Please

If the state of the union is stronger,
why did the president spend time
on phony concerns like the deficit,
and so-called entitlement reforms?

After he all but ignored the need for
more stimulus and real tax reform,
I was upset, but then Rubio and Paul
proved things could be lots worse.

06.02.13 | Comments Off

Careful Selection

The president is over-doing the use
of Weapons of Less Destruction
heavily armed airplanes without
pilots, rules or apparent limitations.

Drones are ok for fights with nations,
but not for hyperbolic wars declared
on enigmatic enemies. There’s too
much risk of collateral damage.

If Obama wants to eliminate imminent
dangers without tedious trials he should
pick areas likely to be full of worthy
targets: Wall Street and Congress.

14.01.13 | Comments Off

Let’s Play Safe

The president can’t force congress
to be responsible. Republicans, and
many liberals, are sure he’ll give in.

The only way he can convince
them he won’t compromise will be
to let the country go into default.

In case we’re wrong, and there’s no
deal, a silly trillion dollar coin might
help Bernanke recover from shock.

09.01.13 | Comments Off

Compromiser in Chief

Having retreated from the fiscal cliff,
the president now dumps on his party
with the choice for defense secretary.

Selecting a Republican implies a lack
of confidence that a Democrat can
maintain the nation’s military strength.

Hagel’s record frightens gays, makes
military women worry about losing
their new right to an abortion if raped.

Surely Obama could find a liberal
to manage our armed forces and anger
Lindsey Graham and John McCain.

02.01.13 | Comments Off

The Cliff Would Have Been Better

Dear Mr. President:

I am deeply disappointed in your handling of the “fiscal cliff,” and your frequent reference to the deficit.

I think you should have allowed all taxes go up to the Clinton levels, and let the Republicans take the blame. Then you could have demanded extension of unemployment benefits, sufficient stimulus to counteract the spending cuts, and elimination of the debt ceiling, in return for restoring tax cuts to those making $150,000 a year. The Republicans would refuse, but the public would howl, and they have to run for re-election — you don’t. You would have won eventually because business would have entered the fray on your side.

Now you are stuck with a fight over the debt ceiling. If you touch Social Security or Medicare you will be the Democrats’ Nixon. Your only legitimate opportunity for greatness is to defy congress and assert your arguable constitutional right to borrow money to pay obligations congress approved. Win or lose in court, you will be another FDR.

As far as the deficit is concerned, every time you mention it you are endorsing the Republican’s hypocrisy. You should simply say: “Nothing we can do will bring the budget into balance until unemployment is down to less than 5%, Once that is achieved bringing spending and receipts into a reasonable relationship will become a priority.”

At the moment I am sorry I supported you. Please restore my confidence.

17.12.12 | Comments Off

Gun Control Sandy Hook Needed

The shooter’s mother was killed
with legal guns she kept where
the son she apparently thought
was mentally ill could get them.

Gun rights were not the problem,
it was a question of responsibility.
Those who have guns for safety
should keep them safe.

Remember, drunk driving wasn’t
reduced by banning alcohol,
ads and laws persuaded people
to control their own drinking.

17.12.12 | Comments Off

New Gun Laws Aren’t Enough

Gun laws are a good idea,
but we need more than regulations.
There are already too many guns
in too many hands, too many places.

We need to educate ourselves,
convince us that we must all
help keep our children safe,
keep them out of the line of fire.

Smoking has an industry behind it.
In spite of well-financed opposition
government action reduced it
with taxation, education, regulation,

A good place to start would be a tax
of a few cents per bullet to be used
to publicize the dozen accidental deaths
that guns cause every week in the U.S.

15.12.12 | Comments Off

The tragedy at the Newtown Sandy Hook school probably couldn’t have been prevented by any law or security system. The guns were legal. The gunman had problems, but his family and community gave him a better than average opportunity to get help. As long as we believe it is acceptable to own and store multiple guns in a home, events like this can happen.

The only solution I can think of is to increase acceptance of the danger that guns present to society. That is, begin to persuade people to deal intelligently with some of the 300 million guns spread throughout this country. Maybe we can make people sufficiently afraid of their own firearms to either get rid of them or keep them in a safe place.

We might start with a law making anyone manufacturing, selling, or owning a gun responsible for keeping it from being misused. They should bear the burden of proving they did, and share liability for any damage caused by their neglect. These weapons are as dangerous as drugs. Making, marketing or using them should carry similar responsibility.

When this law takes effect those possessing firearms should be permitted to contribute them to a designated federal agency and relieve themselves of future liability. If they sell them or give them to anyone else they must use care. If they keep them they must do so in a way that prevents theft or accidental use.

Any gun law will be resisted, but this discussion would be about responsibility, not availability — not about preventing the Sandy Hook killings, but about who should pay for the damage caused by our obsession with the second amendment. This might be the best we can hope for right now, and it might encourage the insurance industry to become a major ally in getting this kind of law passed.

11.12.12 | Comments Off

Fair’s Fair

If weakening labor unions
promotes the right to work
then churches should pay taxes
to foster freedom of religion.

Royals in the GOP hive that
want to reduce employee’s
pay would support that idea.
The worker bees might not.

09.11.12 | Comments Off

We Didn’t Choose a Negotiator

Two billion dollars bought
gridlocked government again,
but proved money doesn’t mean
everything in national elections,
(and Karl Rove doesn’t either).

Now pundits think our leaders
should get into the back room
and start making deals. No!
We didn’t elect Barack Obama
because he’s a good mediator.

This president can’t run again so
he can use speeches to tell the
country exactly what congress
should do, and why. If they
don’t do it he has TV power.

He can explain why some things
are worse than inching down
the fiscal slope (it’s not a cliff),
shutting down government, or
violating the debt ceiling law.

Lobbyists may be furious when
their demands and threats are
revealed, but politicians who don’t
face re-election, are free to talk.
That’s why we chose an orator.

26.10.12 | Comments Off

They’re Not Makers and Takers

Truth in Labeling

Right wing politicians think
makers and takers describes
conservative Republicans
and Democratic liberals.

It doesn’t. Many from each
party make stuff or services,
some in each party simply
take rent for their money.

Conservatives are often like
new kindergarteners who
grab the toys they want,
and fight to keep them all.

Liberals are more like older
kids that learned to get along.
This suggests the parties are
really snarers and sharers.

Romney needed PowerPoint slides,
Obama missed the cheering crowd,
but platitudes proliferated because
both candidates know plenty by heart.

The best part was we could hear —
they took turns saying nothing new.
It was also good they brought frozen
listening-smiles for the split-screen.

Romney led in time-of-possession,
but neither scored points, nor lost.
The losers were TV talkers seeking
pearls in a deluge of clam chowder.

17.10.12 | Comments Off

Obama Did What He Had To

Cause Célèbre

Democratic confetti flew again
as liberal pundits celebrated
the return of feisty Obama.

He said all the things he should
have in the first debate, and
matched Romney, slur for slur.

It was like returning to a favorite
restaurant, and finding the burger
you loved as a child is ordinary.

04.10.12 | Comments Off

Digesting the Debate

Pencil poised I wait for an idea
that doesn’t descend directly
from a worn-out stump speech.
My hand goes to sleep because
there is nothing new to note.

Romney generalizes vaguely,
Obama specifies endlessly,
the moderator shifts topics,
but the debaters just recycle.
I long for a commercial break.

24.09.12 | Comments Off

Romney: Tax Loophole Expert

Quid Pro Quo

If I were directing Romney’s campaign
I’d have him push his plan to increase
revenue by cutting income tax rates.

He should guarantee he can do it, but
explain he can’t say how, for the same
reason he won’t release more returns.

Either would reveal his unusual expertise
in exploiting loopholes, and he won’t
give up valuable secrets unless he wins.