And you thought our 535 hired hands and Hiz Wizardness in the land of Oz couldn't reach an agreement on anything.
That deafening thud you didn't hear the other night was Congress reaching an agreement (hold the applause) prior to the midnight pumpkin switch which avoided our nation's lemming-like charge over the fiscal cliff.
There may have been some joy in Whoville when 89 Senators approved compromise legislation and the House agreed by a 257 to 167 margin to avoid automatic tax increases and budget cuts which would have, in the words of some, raided the wallets and wrecked the security of every American. All is not peaches and cream, however. Speaker of the House John Boehner offered no public comment. Translated: He did not, and could not, take credit for slaying the Democratic dragon and saving Middle America from a fate worse than taxes.
The intricacies of the vote and its impact we will leave to the experts and talking heads who believe they fall into the afore-mentioned category. What does interest your humble observer is the apparent civil war that is about to break out among Republicans. Tallies show 151 Republicans voted "no" on the legislation. Boehner and Rep. Paul "Tea Anyone?" Ryan both cast "yea" votes.
Word from the hallowed halls is that Boehner's support of the legislation, which drew only 85 affirmative Republican votes, could mean Mr. Speaker may soon be known as Mr. Ex. His vote reportedly is seen as treasonous by superduper conservative rank-and-filers who joined to shoot down the Speaker's previously presented Plan B, a package which would have raised taxes on those households earning a paltry $1 million annually.
That group sees the fiscal cliff deal actually raising taxes on more Americans than those who earn in excess of $450,000, the income which now defines the wealthy. Supporting their claim is a Congressional Budget Office report showing the plan cuts $15 billion in spending while raising $620 billion in tax revenues, a ratio of $1 cut for every $41 taken in...and everyone is taken in.
Further proof is an estimate from the "nonpartisan" Tax Policy Center showing the budget deal raising taxes on roughly 77 percent of households, primarily due to the expiration of a payroll tax cut. Also, the TPC estimates more than 80 percent of households with income between $50,000 and $200,000 will see a $1,635 annual tax increase. All this most likely will be laid firmly on the thumb of Speaker Boehner which turned upward for the legislation.
Those who oppose any tax increases are greater than the number required to cast a "no" vote when Boehner's name is presented to his fellow Republicans for reelection as Speaker. That vote may cause a tearful eruption the likes of which have not been seen since As The World Turns was cancelled.
The Gander's Sauce
The Journal News, that crusading upstate New York newspaper which published an interactive map of gun permit holders and their addresses in two counties last week, seems to be stewing in its own gunpowder sauce.
The paper, which also took a very strident editorial position urging the strictest gun control, is now finding itself sticking to its guns...literally. After receiving what Editor Caryn McBride believed to be an alarming volume of "negative correspondence via emails and phone calls, The Journal News has hired armed guards.
Pistol packers from New York City-based RGA Investigations reportedly are manning the paper's headquarters in Rockland County. The hired cops have reported nothing unusual; the local police have investigated a couple of "troubling" communications and found nothing troubling.
Rather than take down the questionable map, the TJN has indicated it will soon post a map listing all pistol permit holders in another county. Officials in that county (Putnam County) have announced their intention to not comply with the paper's request for names and addresses of permit holders.
Rumors that the paper will hire mercenaries to raid the Putnam County Courthouse and seize those records have not been confirmed. Also not confirmed is a report that staffers at TJN were seen at a local firing range sighting in brand new semiautomatic weapons.
The new slogan: When principles run headlong into reality, don't buy a gun...hire one.