Republican speech

ignored common sense

I watched with disdain as President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union speech and I saw the expressions on the speaker of the House and his party members.

As the president presented one common-sense idea after another, Republicans sat with grim faces as if they were being verbally assaulted.

The idea of preschool to help students catch up with our competitors was received as if it were a poison pill, and the right side of the aisle sat tight-lipped as if protecting themselves from having to swallow it.

The idea of advancing the sciences was received by the right as if they were people in 1400 being told that the world was round.

A proposal to tax the people who could most easily absorb it was later construed to be an attack on the middle class - as Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., would later claim in a clumsy and very dry rebuttal of the president's address.

The idea of updating our infrastructure seemed as foreign to the right as diplomacy before war.

Ideas that all over the world are considered not only practical and logical but absolute necessities to stay competitive were dismissed as too much for our economy to bear.

The scary part is that Rubio is the new champion of the right. As Bruce Willis said in "Die Hard," "Is that all you got?"


Egg Harbor Township

We are outsourcing

our memory functions

If you were stranded without your cellphone, whom would you call? Do you remember enough phone numbers to be able call someone, or would you be completely lost? Assuming you can track down a copy of the White Pages, you would have to count on someone's number being listed.

Before cellphones, most people could remember at least a couple of dozen phone numbers, including area codes. Some of us remember when phone numbers started with letters.

Why have we chosen to outsource our ability to remember phone numbers? Have we gotten that lazy? Have we become too dependent on our cellphones? I will be so bold as to say we have.

I want to hold onto my precious, remaining brain cells, so I am making it a point to remember people's phone numbers. Challenge yourself to start remembering a few key phone numbers. You'll be glad you did. After all, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.



Miss America belongs

back in Atlantic City

I will never understand why the Miss America Pageant left Atlantic City. But I am glad the pageant is returning to its rightful home.

Atlantic City really is the best place for the annual scholarship competition. Many times when I visit the city, I walk from the NJ Transit station to the Boardwalk. Along the way, I'm intrigue by the Miss America Walk of Fame and plaques of each Miss America that line the sidewalk. Miss America is the hallmark of what defines Jersey culture.

Some reality TV shows may mimic parts of the Miss America format, but there is only one Miss America.

Miss America, welcome home.



Christie hasn't earned

second term as governor

Gov. Chris Christie is running for re-election. In his first two years in office, he signed fewer laws than any other New Jersey governor in the past 164 years, while vetoing more than 100.

He just vetoed raising the minimum wage in a state with the fourth highest cost of living in the country. He vetoed a bill creating a marketplace for the uninsured to shop for health care insurance. He proposed cutting Medicaid eligibility annual income limits for a family of three from $24,645 to $5,317. And he cut funding for women's health care centers, denying diagnostic procedures to thousands of poor people.

He's also cut billions from education, restricted collective bargaining rights, cut aid to municipalities and suspended homestead rebates. He also vetoed a bill that would have banned fracking.

Christie says he believes in shared sacrifice and fiscal sanity, yet he signed a bill cutting business taxes by millions of dollars. He has consistently opposed tax increases on those earning more than $1 million, saying it would hurt job creation. Meanwhile, the state unemployment rate remains almost two points above the national average.

Four more years? No Thanks.



Sequester slows increases,

but won't cut spending

News coverage of the looming sequester and the so-called budget cuts coming in March never tell the full story.

The sequester does not cut spending. The George Mason University think tank, The Mercatus Center, is one of the few places to speak the truth about the sequester. If allowed to take effect, the budget "cuts" only cut the rate of spending increases. Spending would continue to rise, albeit at a slightly lower rate.

For example, with the sequester in effect, Mercatus reports defense spending will go up 18 percent over the next ten years. Without sequester, it would rise 20 percent. Nondefense discretionary spending goes up 12 percent with sequester and 14 percent without. The cumulative effect of what hyperventilating talking heads are referring to as the end life as we know it is this: The overall federal spending increase drops from $1.7 trillion to $1.6 trillion.

Washington is the only place on Earth where a cut in increase is allowed to be called an actual cut. Suppose you were expecting a $5,000 pay raise and the boss gives you $4,000. This would be 20 percent less than what you hoped for. In Washington, they would say you have just received a 20 percent pay cut. But in the real world, we know it's no such thing. Sequester does not really cut anything.


Mays Landing