Thursday, December 12, 2013

Quick Hits: Volume LXXXII

- Many of my conservative cohorts are shocked by these latest developments in Washington.

The budget deal hashed out by congressional negotiators will pass the House on Thursday with the majority of Republicans supporting it, according to GOP leadership aides, although House Democrats have threatened a revolt over unemployment benefits.

Despite raising the level of discretionary spending over the next two years and replacing $63 billion in scheduled automatic cuts from the so-called sequester, House Republicans are largely supportive of the agreement reached by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). It protects military spending, allows Congress to return to the regular congressional appropriations process, and reduces the deficit by roughly $85 billion over 10 years without raising taxes. There is also, of course, a political imperative.

“You can’t spend your time making perfect the enemy of the good,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a member of the budget conference that advised Murray and Ryan during the negotiations. “We got a pretty good lesson what happens if you overplay your hand in those situations in October,” added Cole, referring to the 16-day partial government shutdown that tanked his party’s approval ratings.

When asked why Republicans would change their tactic of extracting concessions from short-term funding deadlines, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said simply, “Because people are sick of it.”

I emphasized Ryan's name because he has, for some time now, been considered a "Tea Party darling." This is mostly in light of a budget proposal he put together a few years ago which looked to trim $4 trillion off the deficit within a decade. It also addressed certain entitlements, which, at the current pace, will likely be insolvent within a generation. Of course since there was a Democrat in the White House as well as a Dem majority in the US Senate at the time, that proposal was pretty much D.O.A.

On the flip side, it isn't all that outrageous what Ryan has proposed this week, given his voting record. He voted yes on Medicare Part D, voted yes on TARP and voted yes in 2011 to increase the debt ceiling. If you think about, the only real strong conservative stance he took was voting no on Obamacare......something every single solitary Republican took the liberty of doing.

The fact is Republicans have to start winning elections posthaste if they have any delusions of pushing through a budget similar to what Ryan concocted 2-1/2 years ago.


- Gov. Mark Dayton is petulant and also claims to have not realized what's in the bills he signs.

In other news, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Oh, and it's cold here in Minnesota.


- Like many, I am terribly saddened by what happened to a college student in Duluth over the weekend.

A 19-year-old college student is facing the terrifying prospect of possibly losing her hands and feet after being found unconscious and suffering from extreme hypothermia on the porch of a Duluth, Minnesota, home.

Alyssa Jo Lommel was found by passersby Saturday morning after spending the night outside in subzero temperatures.

Duluth police say Lommel was at Regions Hospital in St. Paul Monday. Her condition was described as ’stable critical.’

Police say Lommel, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota Duluth, was found unconscious on the porch of her neighbor's house just after 9.30am Saturday.

She had been dropped off at her home in Duluth at about midnight after reportedly spending a night with friends doing tequila shots.

Some additional information became available this week when police interviewed several witnesses, including roommates, others drinking with Lommel that evening and those who drove her home. One of the first questions I asked when hearing about this incident was who in the world would just leave her outside without ensuring she had adequate shelter?

..(T)he men who dropped her off at her home said they didn’t wait to see if she entered or not.

“He hit the locks and she got out and they drove away,” the police report states.
I have a couple of theories here. First, one or more of the guys in the vehicle made an advance at Lommel, which she rebuffed. As such, she was dropped off in haste.

Another possibility is the driver himself was drunk. As a result, common sense eluded him when chose to merely drive off instead of ensuring Ms. Lommel arrived safely indoors on what was a bitterly cold evening. However, there's no way the driver would share such a scenario with police as that would be an admittance of driving under the influence.

The bigger picture here is the state of Ms. Lommel's health. She is critical but stable, though it is still unclear if she will lose any limbs. It does seem quite likely, however, that she will have to endure skin grafts. She is still breathing with the help of a ventilator and has had to receive blood transfusions.

Continued prayers for Alyssa and her entire family.

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