I know it is tornado season. I grew up in Dallas. I’ve seen tornadoes up close and personal. As a matter fact, a tornado ripped through my high school back in 1976 or 1977. It is still sad when an area that was just hit with a devastating tornado is hit again in such a short time. Oklahoma City, just a few miles north of Moore, Oklahoma, was hit with a series of devastating tornadoes. Currently, the news media’s reporting that five people are dead and scores are injured.
The Weather Channel crew was caught up in a tornado that broke out in EL Reno, Oklahoma. Thankfully, everyone is safe.
Yesterday, while on Face the Nation, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma began whistling the same old tune. A new devastating tornado, must demand budget cuts before disaster relief. Senator Coburn has been a vigorous supporter of offsets for disaster relief funding. Senator Coburn is living that old Talking Heads tune which has the refrain – Same As It Ever Was. Senator Coburn is again whistling the same tune. I guess this is probably a good thing. At least he’s been consistent. He is treating his own state exactly the same as he treated other states when they needed disaster relief, although I’m not sure it’s a good thing when you are cold and callous.
We all pay taxes. The taxes need to go for something. One of the problems that I have with the current “cut taxes culture” is that we don’t think about what the things are that we really want to pay for. Do we really want to pay for the F-22 Raptor? If so, this a plane that cost tens of millions of dollars apiece. Do we want to pay to upgrade our bridges that seem to be collapsing at an alarming rate? Do we want to pay for disaster relief for the floods in San Antonio? The tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma? Hurricane Sandy that hit New Jersey and New York? If so, we need to quit cutting taxes and start paying for some things.
“We’ve created kind of a predicate, that you don’t have to be responsible for what goes on in your state,” he said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” while discussing the success Oklahoma has had in using state and private funds after the tornadoes.
Coburn said he doesn’t oppose any federal money going toward the state, however.
“Big storms like [Hurricane] Sandy, or like this tornado — there’s certain things that we can’t do that we need the federal government to do,” he said.
Tornadoes rake across the Mid-West. There are several reported deaths.
Federal court in San Antonio has released an interim redistricting plan for Texas. This plan, of course, is set in stone, unless any of the nine parties who were contesting the last plan decide they would like to appeal it. I think this again points out how corrupt, disjointed, confusing and unfair political redistricting has become in this country. This is what you fight for. You fight to be able to control the redistricting maps, which really controls the houses of your state legislature and Congress. You can protect your friends. You can punish or eliminate your enemies through redistricting. We must go to a better system nationwide.
James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, has relinquished his post as executive chairman of News International. This continues to be a big story.
North Korea has agreed to IAEA inspections and a nuclear moratorium. Raise your hand if you’ve read this before.
Economic numbers were revised upward for the fourth quarter.
I’d like to spend just a moment thinking about Rick Santorum’s statement on John F. Kennedy’s classic speech on the separation of church and state. (Complete transcript here.)
Rick Santorum stated that he read the speech on religion and it made him want to “throw up.” He stated, “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is antithetical to the objectives and the vision of our country…. ” Now, of course, Rick Santorum was pandering for votes. He was desperate. He was in the final days of trying to rally his troops in Michigan and somehow eke out a victory. He was grasping for straws. Yet, I don’t believe that this excuses such over-the-top rhetoric. Every now and then, we truly need to hold our politicians accountable for what they say. It is clear to me that John F. Kennedy, the former president, wasn’t talking about running the presidency in a moral vacuum. President Kennedy understood, just as you and I understand, that Americans who come from a religious background carry their religious morality with them everywhere. This is a fact of life. The fact that you are cordial and treat others with respect is a reflection of your religious beliefs. The fact that you listen to other points of view or don’t listen to other points of view, again, is a reflection of your religious beliefs. What John F. Kennedy was talking about was central to what was on Americans minds at the time – the president should not answer to the Pope. Although some may laugh now, that was a real fear in 1960. If we elected a Catholic president, it would the same as electing the Pope as president. What John F. Kennedy was talking about was that he was going to be a president for everyone. He wasn’t going to take his marching orders from any religious figure, but that his religious upbringing, his moral character if you will, was still going to be the same. This is a nuanced argument. In 2012, nuanced arguments cannot be distilled down the talking points and bumper stickers so that they are belittled by folks like Rick Santorum. I find it disappointing that more people haven’t taken Rick Santorum the task. To be complete, Rick Santorum has backed away from his original statements.