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9/2/2009 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

Here’s an e-mail I received:

Dear Richard:
If you are one of the households in Brinsmade who suffered from irresponsible lending or need new loan terms to suit your home’s current value and today’s economy, a loan modification can help you.

(A loan modification will recalculate your mortgage based on the current value of the home, allowing you to receive a new low payment you can now afford.) We have a loan modification proposal for the home on Po box 98 that would significantly reduce your payment using a fixed rate loan (no payment increases!). If you’d like to look over the details, follow this link:

LINK: Brinsmade Fixed Term Loan Modification Detail for Po box 98 Sincerely, Penelope Mitalas Brinsmade Fixed Term Savings ND Gee whiz, there must be a lot of people in Brinsmade who’ve taken out home loans they can’t pay back. I come to that conclusion because they appear to have a specialist handling loans in Brinsmade. Here in the suburb of Minnewaukan, they’re even ready to give me a loan on my post office box. I don’t know what the US Postal Service thinks of that, but the temptation to try for such a loan in strong. After all, if I default on the loan are they going to repossess my post office box from the US Postal Service? I don’t think so.

This may come as a surprise to those of you not living in Las Vegas, but there are more Catholic churches there than casinos.

Not suprisingly, some worshipers at Sunday services will give casino chips rather than cash when the offering basket is passed.

Since they get chips from many different casinos, the churches have devised a method to collect the offerings. The churches send all their collected chips to a nearby Franciscan monastery for sorting and then the chips are taken to the casinos of origin and cashed in.

This is done by the chip monks.

You didn’t even see it coming, did you?

Sister Mary Ann, who worked for a home health agency, was out making her rounds visiting homebound patients when she ran out of gas. As luck would have it, a Texaco gasoline station was just a block away.

She walked to the station to borrow a gas can and buy some gas. The attendant told her that the only gas can he owned had been loaned out, but she could wait until it was returned. Since Sister Mary Ann was on the way to see a patient, she decided not to wait and walked back to her car.

She looked for something in her car that she could fill with gas and spotted the bedpan she was taking to the patient. Always resourceful, Sister Mary Ann carried the bedpan to the station, filled it with gasoline and carried the full bedpan back to her car.

As she was pouring the gas into her tank, two Baptists watched from across the street.

One of them turned to the other and said, "If it starts, I’m turning Catholic."

Here’s an item by Mike Platz that came to me by e-mail:
I remember years ago, during Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campaign for California governor, proponents used to say how nice it would be to have a "powerhouse" in office, a hero who could get things done. I used to chuckle at the way they confused the movie character with the man, as if the new governor could use his laser gun to vanquish a roomful of Democrats. Clearly, in 2008, we Democrats had the same problem, electing Obama the Hero, Obama the Man of History. A few months later, none of our fantasies have been realized.

It’s amazing how deeply we Americans disdain the political process in Washington, the gradual gathering of support for a plan of action, the slow work of building consensus, the need to appear evenhanded and fair while at the same time trying to expedite a bill that can actually get passed. National reform is painstaking, very un-sexy, and you don’t get to say "Go ahead, make my day" very often.

Honestly, the process should be tedious, unless a president wants to arrest his opponents in the middle of the night and make them disappear. This is why I always chuckle when friends complain about the snail’s pace of politics. I’m thinking, "Be careful what you wish for."

To achieve national reform, a sitting president must deploy a mixture of sticks and carrots, of fear and friendship, must selectively extend the promise of support or the threat of opposition to more than 500 elected members of Congress who don’t see the world the way he does. If he steps over his opponents, he’s accused of bullying and risks alienating their support. If he’s too conciliatory, his allies accuse him of watering down reform to the point that there’s nothing left.

Obama wants health reform. Everyone except the Republican leadership wants health reform, but the president pretty much has to build it one congressman at a time. It’s no wonder that during the early 1930’s there were calls for FDR to deploy temporary dictatorial powers. Of course, there are those who claim FDR did just that. But then, there are many more who say FDR didn’t nearly go far enough chasing out the fat cats and that his failure to do so led to the current crisis that is costing us 1.5 trillion and counting.

The best Obama can do is make a clear case for a public health insurance option. He can then hope that people tune in and listen to the facts. His allies say that it’s time the president practiced a bit of arm twisting, cracked the whip and instilled some serious party loyalty. They’ll point out that the Bush-led White House did not brook dissent from rank and file Republicans. I’d respond that if Obama were a Republican, he’d have vilified his opponents months ago, calling them unpatriotic, immoral, a threat to national security and associating them with terrorists. That’s not his style, and it never will be.

Remember the movie "Billy Jack?" Where actor Tom Laughlin karate-chopped a whole restaurant full of racists after screaming, "I just go berserk."? Well, we don’t have one of those. We just have this president who expresses himself quite well, and hopes people listen. Will that be enough? We’ll see.

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