Friday, March 17, 2017

‘Twas a sad, sad day; can we just hide under the covers for a little bit longer?

President Donald J. Trump has given us the first federal budget proposal of his term, and it truly is sad.
TRUMP: Our source of national gloom and doom
To come up with more military spending (maybe he really wants to be a “wartime” president because he figures that’s the only way the country will unite behind him) out of the $1.1 trillion available, he has made many cuts – particularly to anything related to the environment.

SUCH AS THE demolition of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – a project whose purpose is to preserve the continued use of Lake Michigan and its sister Great Lakes as the largest fresh water system in the world.

Then again, maybe the Trumpites are figuring the Great Lakes are already gone, on account of those dreaded Asian Carp being on the verge of entering the lakes and mucking up its natural ecosystem.

There also were the cuts to the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities – although conservative ideologues whose idea of “art” doesn’t extend beyond a painting of yellow daisies have been ranting on this area for so long it would have been a miracle if Trump hadn’t done something silly.

As a Washington Post report contended, the $54 billion proposed increase in defense spending for federal fiscal 2018 could have funded both arts agencies for the next 183 years. Or perhaps kept a few more of the 2.4 million elderly individuals who have to rely on Meals on Wheels workers to bring them food because they can't really cook for themselves any longer. While Chicago-area educators could be heard grousing about the 18 percent cut in funding for federal education programs -- which when combined with the delays due to a lack of a state budget will result in some serious funding issues for public schools.

NOT THAT THIS was the only negative news we had to endure Thursday.
MADIGAN: Telling us how bad healthcare is

Down in Springfield, an Illinois House appropriations subcommittee held hearings whose purpose was to tell us just how much the Trump-inspired American Health Care Act will wind up costing Illinois and harming our residents.

Many of whom are able to get medical coverage under the Affordable Care Act but that Republicans are all eager to repeal because, after all, it was the idea of the former president, Barack Obama.

A plan whose fate in Congress is uncertain because even many of the GOPers who openly boast of wanting to dump Obama don’t want their names being attached to this stinker.
RAUNER: We don't like him any better than Mike

EVEN OUR STATE’S Republican excuse of a governor, Bruce Rauner, is reluctant to come out in favor of it, and Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., the most prominent Chicago-area GOPer in Congress, speaks against it.

Considering that Rauner has an approval rating of 31 percent (barely better than Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan’s rating of 28 percent, according to a study from Southern Illinois University), the man doesn’t need to do anything to dig himself any deeper.

The man still has dreams of winning himself re-election in 2018, and now the billionaire J.B. Pritzker has started kicking in his own money for an exploratory committee to see if people would actually vote for him over Rauner.

All in all, it was one of those days where we’re better off if we keep ourselves clueless as to the happenings of the news. The only problem is that those happenings take place even if we try to ignore them.

AS IT TURNS out, even the ideologues amongst us are feeling peeved – there’s that judge in Hawaii who struck down Trump’s second attempt at imposing a ban on certain foreigners who might have desires to travel to the United States. They’re already spewing the nonsense that Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu consulted with Obama just prior to issuing his ruling. We’ll have to endure their paranoia.

Which means our only chance of self-preservation is to keep ourselves informed. There might be one group that benefits – psychiatrists, if we all wind up having to go for therapy to help us cope with the chaotic times our society now faces.

So on this gloomy day, I can’t help but think this lesser-known recording of Chuck Berry somehow captures the spirit of sadness we’re feeling.



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