Sunday cafe: the budget, Sidney Lumet, The Masters, and coffee is good for your heart

When the budget finally passed at the eleventh hour Friday night, everyone I knew felt the same way – that it was a charade, that those representing us in Congress were doing a poor job of it, that we were all relieved the National Park system was not going to shut down and that our spring break reservations at Grand Canyon were still viable.

My gut reaction is that I’m not looking at a hard copy of the budget, I’m not an economist, and there is so much to running a federal deficit that I don’t understand.  I can’t, honestly and in good faith, tell you how a large deficit versus the surplus we had during the Clinton administration affects the micro and macro fiscal picture in this country, even after reading John T. Harvey’s article from March or Christina Romer’s oft cited piece from the New York Times Business section last October.  I believe most of the economists when they say that reducing unemployment is more important than reducing the deficit.  I believe people working is more vital to the success of our country then how much we’re financing debt.  To say it’s complicated is to say that Japan has had some issues of late.

There is so much more going on than most of us can successfully dissect and implement.  I think having an abortion must be a terrible decision to have to make and a personal, private choice I want no voice in.  I believe, as I think everyone I know believes, that we should try and reduce the number of abortions in this country.  I am a pro-choice, liberal Democrat who agrees with the elastic Hyde Amendment that federal money should not be used for the purposes of carrying out this painful decision.  Even the hint that much of this budget nonsense last week was because a minority in this country has no faith in Hyde and therefore wanted to hold the federal budget and Planned Parenthood hostage, is absurd and inexcusable.  Deep down, John Boehner knew it, too, which is why the agreement to punt a vote on the line item, down the road and into the Senate, will ultimately fall short.

Republicans can claim success because they sucked many more billions out of the budget (38 is the rounded figure) than Democrats originally said they’d agree to.  Four billion, 38 billion, 45 billion, whatever.  I’d bet there are even more billions in frivolous and wasteful spending that could be found to cut, but there you have it, for the rest of 2011.  In the end, I truly think we’re going to be okay, but I won’t pretend to know why.  I’m just an optimist, sometimes cockeyed.

In other news:

Fighting continues in Libya as African leaders arrived in Tripoli Sunday to talk with Moammar Qadafi in an attempt to implement a ceasefire.

One of my favorite directors, Sidney Lumet, died Saturday in New York.  He was 86.  Have you ever seen “Twelve Angry Men” with Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb?  Wonderful.  “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Serpico”, with Pacino before he became a caricature of Pacino, are worth watching again, as are “The Verdict” and “Prince of the City”.  Lumet’s and Paddy Chayefsky’s “Network” is a classic.

A 24-year-old gun club member brought an automatic weapon into a shopping mall in the Netherlands Saturday and started shooting, killing six and injuring seventeen.  “This is something you usually see in America, not in the Netherlands,” said local resident Martin van der Ploeg as he fixed his motorbike near the mall.

Adam Scott is currently in the lead at The Masters, with Rory McIlroy having fallen back earlier in the day.  Charl Schwartzel and Jason Day are chasing Scott.  Tiger Woods has finished and is currently in third place.

Good news about coffee continues.  Drink it for your heart.

Enjoy the rest of a Sunday.

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  1. mary pat says

    One of my favourite Sidney Lumet movies is ‘Death Trap’ with Christohper Reeves, Michael Caine and Diane Cannon. Thanks for the post – the budget debacle is downright depressing but I like your optimism!

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