Monday, February 25, 2013

Pretending to be Great

Both Progressives and Republicans had plenty of reasons to be disappointed with Barack Obama's first term. For Republicans, Obama was a socialist hawking big government. For Progressives, Obama was afraid to push for single payer health care and let Wall Street off the hook for the financial crisis.
Now Obama is refusing to compromise on a debt deal, or offer reasonable cuts to entitlements like medicare and social security. This of course gives moderates like myself a reason to really dislike the President.
Obama will continue to pretend to take the high road. He wants to look like the adult in the room. But he would rather let the Republicans take the blame for sequestration than work with them to avoid it.
No one can argue that Obama's presidency will be anything but historic. He's an inspirational figure to all Americans and he does not deserve the criticism and hatred he receives from the right. But he will not be a great President until he learns how to work with Republicans to address the important issues, like debt, unemployment and immigration that face this country.

Monday, February 18, 2013

American manufacturing

Who says we don't make anything anymore? America must be the number one producer of manufactured fiscal crises. From the debt ceiling, to sequestration, to the fiscal cliff, our government has found ways to develop deadlines to threaten our fragile economy.
Instead of bouncing from one manufactured crisis to the next, it would be nice if the Republicans in the House and the Democrat in the White House, could put together a long term deal to stimulate the economy now, and cut future spending on the military and entitlement programs.
Unfortunately that would require compromise from both parties and that has become a dirty word in Washington. Republicans and Democrats have decided that it's easier to just let the economy fall apart and then blame the other side.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Saturday Mail

I like receiving mail on Saturdays. Since I'm a self-syndicated freelance cartoonist with several different clients on different pay schedules, I often come home on Saturday to find the best kind of mail - money.
Still, I support the U.S. Postal Service's decision to cut Saturday deliver. They need to save money, and my mail, even the mail with money in it, can wait until Monday. (Frankly my bank is usually closed by the time the mail arrives on Saturday, so I can't cash the check until Monday anyway).
The Postal Service needs to take whatever measures are necessary to stay viable. I use the post office regularly to mail cartoons and artwork to customers. The post office is a valuable business partner for me and hundreds of other small business folks in the area. Plus, here in Madison we are blessed with exceptionally helpful postal workers, who buck all of the stereotypes of complacent government employees.
The Postal Service's problem is heavy handed government oversight, and a mandate to deliver to every address no matter how remote. The law makers who who regulate the Postal Service have always wanted it to operate more like a business. The U.S. Postal Service doesn't need a mandate to act like a business, what it needs is the ability to.
Congress needs to get out of the way, and let the Postal Service make the changes it needs to make to survive in our modern world.

Will scouts help gay little old ladies cross the street?

There has been much ado about the whether or the not the Boy Scouts of American will allow openly gay people join their club. At the very least individual chapters should be able to make their own rules about who they let in. Currently, progressive chapters like those in Madison are banned from welcoming in both gay scouts and leaders, and that is just silly.
Allowing local control makes sense for now. Progressive chapters in big cities will allow gays while conservative chapters in rural districts will still be allowed to practice their homophobic exclusion for the time being.
Eventually however, the Boy Scouts, like every institutions in America, will welcome people of every sexual orientation. That is just the way the world is moving. Within the next 10-20 years gay marriage will be the law of land, and discriminating against gay folks will be as socially unacceptable as discriminating on the basis of race or ethnicity.
We are running out of groups to exclude and oppress, and that's a good thing.