Bob Higgins

The Old Republican Fiscal Piety Blues

Posted in Financial Crime, Humor, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 26, 2010
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In my experience the same Republicans who preach so loudly about fiscal responsibility and living within ones budget are nearly always at the front of the line at the great American public appropriations buffet. They address the cameras with carefully powered faces twisted into expressions of shock and concern, their mouths dripping with pecuniary piety and repeat the same mantra over and over again.

They accuse the Democratic Party of being the party of “tax and spend” and pontificate about the way they will save America by cutting taxes on the wealthy, cutting services to those who need and deserve them, then, with open grasping palms, flee into the back rooms with their lobbyist masters and grovel for their cut of the loot.

In his column at the Miami Herald, Carl Hiaasen offers a lovely and touching example of this in a tale of appropriations largess in Tallahassee, Florida: (more…)

Afghan Election Marred by Fraud, American Democracy in Action

Posted in Humor, News, Politics by Bob Higgins on September 25, 2010
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The people of Afghanistan and their leaders have taken to this western style democracy stuff like a duck to water or perhaps more like an addict to smack.

“The complaints to provincial election commissions have so far included video clips showing ballot stuffing; the strong-arming of election officials by candidates’ agents; and even the handcuffing and detention of election workers.  NYT”

No, no, this is not from an old news story about the vote counting in Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004, it’s from a story in yesterday’s New York Times about the stunning progress we are making in our creation of a western style democracy in Afghanistan.

“But in the important southern province of Kandahar, where election officials threw out 76 percent of the ballots in last year’s badly tainted presidential election, candidates accused the president’s influential half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, of drawing up a list of winners even before the Sept. 18 election for Parliament was carried out. NYT

Looks good so far,  I think we’ve taught them nearly everything we know and everything they need to know. USAID is said to be launching a crash program to train the Afghan Parliament to more effectively use lobbyists in their everyday affairs and how to properly proofread and approve legislation drawn up by heroin farmers and other Afghan and American business interests. (more…)

A Sickening in the Gulf Stream

Posted in Environment by Bob Higgins on June 27, 2010

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[Editor’s note: This began as a comment this morning to “Oil spill: The nightmare becomes reality” a Carl Hiaasen piece on the arrival of BP’s poisonous gusher of crud on the shores of Pensacola.]

Carl,

You’re right; it is difficult for people living far from our coasts to feel the horrible weight of this disaster.

I live in Ohio but have lived on the coasts of California and North Carolina. I have also lived through and helped clean up an oil spill near San Francisco in 1970 or thereabouts. I have friends and family though who have never seen or at least never lived near the sea and had it become, as seems inevitable to me, a part of them.

If you sit on a hill overlooking your local harbor or coastal area (a fat dune will do) and watch the ebb and flow of the ocean, its cycle of life, through days and nights, its tides, the winds shifting from onshore to offshore, the ceaseless march of crabs and gulls of all the limitless life of the sea you will soon notice another ebb and flow.

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