Archive for May, 2011

Gang Of Five

Activated in 2011, the current gang of six was appointed by President Obama to focus on the “compromise over the U.S. public debt from the National Commission of Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.”  The gang of six is presently reduced to a gang of five.  Sen. Tom Coburn (R. Oklahoma) has stated that he “needed to step away from negotiating.”  There is some hope among the other members that he will eventually return, but, so far, it looks unlikely.  The gang of six had produced a plan to reduce the deficit by 4 trillion over the next ten years.  According to sources, the group believed it was close to a tentative draft of a deal about three weeks ago.  Coburn found it necessary to review the details over the Senate’s Easter recess.  He returned to Washington with five or six new demands.  While Coburn was away with a family emergency, the remaining five reviewed those demands.  Upon returning, Coburn insisted on a further $130 billion in cuts to Medicare beyond the $400 billion proposed by the deficit committee.  And that’s when all communication fell apart.   Sen. Dick Durbin (D. Illinois) thought Coburn’s demands for further cuts to Medicare went “too far.”  Durbin is under pressure from his party not to dramatically reform Medicare.  The party had already attacked Rep. Paul Ryan (R. Wisconsin) for proposing to turn Medicare into a private health care system for future beneficiaries.  The original gang of six seemed ready to jump on domestic discretionary spending cuts and tax reforms, but instead, they left it up to the House and Senate committees to identify where to cut under their own jurisdictions.  Coburn intends to present his own package detailing how to cut $9 trillion in ten years.  Democrats responded that Coburn was making it difficult for the gang of six to obtain their goal of cutting $4 trillion over the next decade.  As it stands now, Vice President Joe Biden has his own bipartisan group (Blair House talks), commissioned by President Obama to come up with a deficit reduction plan to go along with this summer’s debt limit vote.  As of May 27th, Coburn still has not rejoined the gang of six, but the remaining five are “close to an agreement,” reported Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R. Georgia) on Wednesday.  Bipartisan groups are good in theory, but difficult under any circumstances.  I admire President Obama’s desire to initiate bipartisanship and to ease the tension and allow for constructive and productive talks, but I’m just not sure that it’s possible.

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Camping Out

I wasn’t too concerned when Harold Camping predicted the end of the world on May 21st, 2011.  In his prediction, Camping said 200 million Christians would be taken to heaven and the rest of us, well, we’d be SOL.  When the day came and went without any apocalyptic action, Camping apologized for not having the date “worked out as accurately as I could have.”  Now, this is not the first time Camping has predicted the end of the world as we know it (and, apparently, it’s not to be the last).  He previously predicted the Apocalypse would come in 1994, but later said his math was wrong.  This is a man who has a major math malfunction.  According to Camping, instead of the rapture, May 21st turned out to be “a spiritual judgment day, which places the entire world under Christ’s judgment.”  With the math corrected and the Apocalypse again scheduled, Camping reports a five month discrepancy in his calculations.  The planet will cease to exist on October 21st, 2011.  Camping did not give away his vast fortune or possessions before May 21st in anticipation of the rapture as so many followers did.  As much as I refuse to take these predictions seriously, I’m beginning to get annoyed.  Too many followers do take the apocalyptic predictions seriously and they keep wiping out their financial status in order to be prepared for the rapture.  Camping is taking advantage of their faith and reaping the monetary benefits.  I’m tired of this man leading the pack and getting news coverage to do it.  It’s about time we ALL wised up and removed the guy from our radar.  Believe me, the man is a KOOK who doesn’t have a clue about much of anything.  Save your money for something really important like dental work, or car maintenance.  You’ll need that while you’re here.

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