Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Sequester Poem - An Understanding

by Amy Payne
On Pennsylvania Avenue, right near the end, there lived a President who wanted to spend.
He knew spending meant power, so hour by hour, he thought up more spends from his Washington tower.

“I’ll spend without limits; I’ll spend without blame! Raising taxes to pay—that’s the name of the game.”

Down the street, though, a House filled with thriftier folk had a budget to pass, or the country’d go broke.

“We can’t spend all day; we’ve got bills to pay! Let’s keep deficits and higher taxes away.”

The Senate next door to the House just refused. “We don’t like your budget. We’ve got some bad news:

The President says we can spend all we want, and we’ll simply raise taxes whenever we choose.”

So they spent and they spent and they borrowed some more. And when all that was spent, they spent same as before.

But not everyone thought the spending was nice. In the House and the Senate, some spenders thought twice.

“We’ll cut down on spending. We have a bad feeling…” then—SMACK!—right on schedule, they hit the debt ceiling.

Then the President’s office, confronted with debt: “If it’s cuts they want now, then it’s cuts they shall get.

We’ll threaten such cuts that NO one would take, and show them that cuts are not smart to make.”

“This will make Congress move. We’ll just float out a tester… broad, haphazard cuts that we’ll call the sequester.”

The Senate and even the House said, “Okay! That will motivate us to find a good way.

We’ll figure this out and stave off those cuts—to allow them to happen, we’d have to be nuts.”

So the deadline was set, but the spending went on. A year and a half had soon come and gone.

The House passed a budget; the Senate said no; the President very much enjoyed the show.

“Spend higher! Spend faster! Grow the welfare rolls! Soon, love for the spending will show up in the polls.” He even raised taxes, but it wasn’t enough—the levels of spending grew too fast to keep up.

“Don’t you mind the sequester,” he told Capitol Hill. “You said you would fix it, and I’m sure you will.”

But they could not agree on ways to cut spending, and before they knew it, the sequester was pending.

“Oh no!” they all cried. “We can’t let these cuts stand!”

And the President said, “WHO thought of this terrible plan?”

They didn’t remember his plan all along.

He distracted them with his spending-cut song.

Now he returned to save them from harm,

and to keep them forgetting all but his charm.

So the President said with a glint in his eye, “You tried to cut spending. I saw how you tried.

But it’s just too painful—I’m sure you can see. From the beginning, you should have listened to me.”

“I’ll save you all from the spend-cutters’ axes.

You see, the solution is just to raise taxes.”

Sunday, February 10, 2013


The body was lifeless. 

I couldn't detect a heartbeat, breathing had stopped. 

What are the steps for CPR? 

I tilted the tiny head back and gently pinched the nostrils shut. 

I blew gently until I saw the tiny chest rise with the air.

I tapped the chest with my fingertips.

I kept this up for several minutes. 

When all efforts at resuscitation failed, I carried the lifeless body downstairs, opened the back door and tossed it out into the snow to be recycled. 

Pet mice are expendable.

(c) 1984 Jana L. Shellman

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I originally wrote this in the 80's on my Selectric typewriter.  I'm dejunking (watching "Hoarders" is productive in that it moves us all to clean out our files now and then).

I'm a very special person.  My Grandmother told me so, thus it must be true.  She told me that I'm also very lucky, so I must believe that as well.  She says I was lucky to have been born in the United States of America because bad things happen in other parts of the world.

"But Grandmother, doesn't anything bad ever happen in the United States of America?"

"Yes, sometimes bad things happen.  There are bad people everywhere.  But in America we have freedom, and freedom is the most important thing in the world to have."

"I have to pick up my toys whether I want to or not."

"There's a difference between duty and freedom." explained Grandmother.  "It is our duty to preserve freedom.  It is our duty to give people the freedom to be themselves."

"How could people not be themselves?" I asked.

"Some people think we should give poor people things so they won't have to do without."

"That's a nice thing to do.  What's wrong with that?" I asked.

"If you give people charity, the people will think you don't have faith in their ability to do for themselves.  When you give them charity you take away their pride." said Grandmother.

"What is pride, Grandmother?"

"Pride is Joy. Pride is satisfaction, happiness, pride is dignity and self-respect."

"Grandad's horses are Pride and Joy!"

"Just think how Grandad wouldn't be able to work if you took away Pride and Joy. It's the same with the poor people.  You can't give them charity without taking their ability to work.  If you take away their Pride and Joy, they have no dignity.  They become slaves to those who do for them what they should be doing for themselves."