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In the No

BY BEAU ELLIOT | JULY 19, 2011 7:20 AM

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We're not going to talk about the weather, because that would just be a lot of hot air, and there's plenty of that going around without our help.

Besides, human beings, I have on good authority, have been yakking about the weather for tens of thousands of years, and nothing ever comes of it.

It's kind of like the debate over raising the federal debt ceiling.

Yes, I know — I'm rather stretching (to put it politely) the meaning of "debate." It's been more like song and dance, as imagined by Laurel and Hardy. (Not to denigrate the imagination of either Stan Laurel or Oliver Hardy.)

Maybe that's what White House spokesman Jay Carney had in mind when he labeled the latest Republican move "kabuki theater."

(Hmm — that might be redundant. So much is these days.)

Interestingly enough, the American Heritage Dictionary cheerily informs us that kabuki is a highly stylized Japanese theater, and the word is derived from "kabu," which means singing and dancing. No, really.

The dictionary goes on to note that kabuki evolved (which I realize is a naughty world for some folks) from the traditional Japanese No theater.

Well, one sure thing about Republicans — they're in the no.

Take Congress, for instance. As NPR notes, Congress has passed 24 bills since Republicans took control of the House this year; in the same period of time last year, Congress passed 98 bills.

This is largely the work — or lack of work, given the results — the GOP-run House, because, apparently, the Republicans believe that "compromise" is a four-letter word.

Why would they think that? you ask. Because, sources tell me, Republicans employ a quite advanced branch of mathematics not available to the rest of us. Perhaps it's faith-based.

Maybe that's why the right-wingers devoutly believe that closing tax loopholes for millionaires and billionaires would cripple our economy but having the United States default on its debts would have no effect.

I wish I were smart enough to have studied that kind of mathematics.

Maybe it's that kind of math former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was employing the other day when he claimed credit for the economic boom and federal budget surplus that took place in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton was president.

Only one problem: The federal deficit started falling well before Gingrich and the Republicans took control of the House. According to figures from the Congressional Budget Office, the deficit began to fall in fiscal 1994, President Clinton's first budget, and that occurred after Clinton's tax increases on the rich.

Yes, tax increases. They sliced the deficits and sparked the boom.

You couldn't get any Republican to admit that, of course. But then, they march to the beat of a different mathematician.

Which may explain what Rush Limbaugh was thinking recently when he redefined freedom. The Rush equated freedom with having incandescent light bulbs.

Who knew that freedom was a light bulb? I though light bulbs provided light and the grist for an endless series of bad jokes.

Oh, well. Things could be worse. We could be in Florida.

Where, public radio tells us, the mosquito population is the largest since 1998, but the cities and towns in the Sunshine State are having trouble fighting the problem because of budget cuts.

Hmm — I wonder how Floridians like their small government now.

And you thought the weather here was bad.


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