Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Quick Hits: Volume XIX

-In a somewhat stunning display of bipartisanship, President Barack Obama agreed to renew the "Bush tax cuts" for another two years. In exchange, Congressional Republicans must cede to a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits.

Naturally, the spin has been how the President agreed to cut taxes when in actuality he merely agreed to keep tax rates the same. And while lower taxes is a good thing for the American people and the economy, it's not a cure all for our current economic woes. Over the past ten years, Republicans (with President Bush being the biggest culprit) loved touting lower taxes while being obstinate in cutting spending. This will be the biggest challenge for the newly elected Tea Party Republicans in Congress. That is, remain steadfast in their pledge to cut spending, which is the only true way to deficit reduction.

-Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former Presidential candidate John Edwards (D-NC), passed away Tuesday morning after a long bout with cancer. She was only 61 years old.

It goes without saying that I pretty much disagreed with nearly everything Mrs. Edwards espoused politically. But not even I could deny the grace and dignity with which she handled any and every adversity which came her way over the past several years. In addition to being diagnosed with cancer, Mrs. Edwards lost her teenage son Wade to an auto accident in 1996 then endured the public humiliation of learning her husband had fathered a child with another woman while on the Presidential campaign trail in 2007. Yet through all that, she never portrayed herself as a victim to the point of shunning any sympathy. In fact, there was a story in People magazine a couple of years ago detailing an account of how she accompanied her husband while he visit the daughter he had with former mistress Rielle Hunter. Despite the unfathomable betrayal she must have felt, Mrs. Edwards was able to focus her attention upon an innocent child who was hardly at fault for events which lead to her birth.

Needless to say, a smarmy jackass like John Edwards hardly deserved to be married to a woman with that kind of indomitable character.

-Well, the University of Minnesota football team finally moved in for the Kill. Jerry Kill, that is.

Kill went 23-16 and led the Huskies to bowls in all three of his seasons there. Northern Illinois went 10-3 this season, including a 34-23 victory at Minnesota that laid the groundwork for Gophers coach Tim Brewster to be fired.

Naturally, this move didn't exactly excite Gopher Nation. I surmised that many were pining for a bigger name like former Texas Teach coach Mike Leach, a hire which would have instantly increased the season ticket base. But with the hire of Kill, it's clear that Athletic Director Joel Maturi et al are taking a long-term approach to the football program.

Personally, I refuse to give a knee-jerk reaction and thus will assess this hire once the new coach has had ample opportunity to put his own stamp on the program. However, I am somewhat encouraged that Kill was able to lead his Northern Illinois program into the AP Top 25 this season, his third year at the school.



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