As expected, Republicans voted down President Obama’s Jobs Bill. What next? New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg is calling for a new WPA.

“The President’s plan — and, by the way, we wouldn’t have minded if it passed, I voted for it — has a lot of good things… but it doesn’t have the immediacy factor [of mine],” he said.

Lautenberg’s legislation, called the 21st Century WPA Act, wouldn’t be exactly like the WPA that gave Lautenberg’s own father a job during the Great Depression. Rather, it would award funding to projects that would give jobs to people unemployed for more than 60 days; have a continued economic benefit after their completion; and would devote a “high” portion of each dollar spent to employee pay. The legislation suggests — but does not limit departments to — a variety of projects, including the construction of water treatment plants, schools and firehouses, highway repairs and maintenance, building weatherization and trail maintenance.

I’m always a little amused by how people across the board, conservatives included, like the idea of a WPA. I think it’s because there’s living memory of how it saved people from poverty and desperation and put the country back to work. Not busy work, either. We still see WPA plaques, cite WPA research– the infrastructure built by the WPA is still sound. There’s WPA sidewalks in Lippit Park.

Lautenberg proposes a tax on millionaires. I always wonder why some call this kind of tax a ‘punishment’. Jeeze, I should be punished with a million or two a year and I won’t gripe about taxes since I don’t gripe about the taxes I pay now.

But consider– do not millionaires drive on streets? Do they not call the fire department when they have a fire? Do they not hire workers who went to public schools? I think they will get their money’s worth.

Liberty Prevails

I missed the email Thursday calling all friends of the Liberty to come on down and buy gift certificates, but I made it there for breakfast today. The Liberty Elm will stay open, the owner is working out a tax payment plan. They need lots of people to go there and eat eggs, so remember–free range eggs are loaded with Omega-3’s.

Best of all, my art will stay up on the walls for a while longer as the next show is not ready yet. I have my eye on September 2010 for an encore. Just haven’t done the art yet.

Look for the Liberty on TV in the Fall.

Teabags for Freedom

How does anyone justify blogging, net surfing, enjoying oneself when there are dishes to be washed and the front yard has been designated a wilderness zone because it’s easier that way?

That’s not even including being late to work because you got up early and couldn’t resist just checking your mail and an hour later you’re in a fascinating discussion of the cultural bias of a British razor ad campaign (trust me, it’s obnoxious).

I’m not sure if anyone beyond the blogosphere knows or cares about some mania that the right wing is running around waving tea bags on April 15th.

All I can say is–thank the gods it’s tea bags and not bullets. Too many people lately have tried to make a statement by murdering unsuspecting, unarmed fellow-citizens.

I don’t understand why it is considered brave to buy a lot of guns and shoot at random people who were only minding their business. I think these ‘heroes’ would be less likely to attack random people unarmed. Even an ancient woman with Alzheimer’s might punch back.

Anyway, if the mode of expression is tea bags we are making progress.

Yes, patriots, let’s see you launch a protest like the Boston Tea Party. Except that the Boston Tea Party was aimed at an occupying colonial power. And you are protesting paying taxes to your democratically elected government.

“I don’t need no stinking government” you might say, “I’ve got guns.”
That’s cool. Until your toddler swallows a gumball. As she turns blue you call 911. But they’ve been cut for lack of taxes. You Heimlich her and, thank the gods, get the gumball out. But her throat is swelling and she needs to get to the emergency room. The roads outside of your gated community are rutted for lack of taxes. It’s a rough ride for a sick baby. When you finally get there you have to push to the head of the line. Desperate people with sick babies are blocking your access. You wave your insurance card. To the head of the line you go, but there’s a stall in the reimbursement guarantee.
No problem, you wave your teabag and they take your baby in right away.

Is this the better angels of our nature, the dream of democracy?

No readers, the dream is the government of the people, and a well-informed and literate citizenship that demands our tax dollars be spent wisely and transparently. Wisely and transparently to build a society that meets minimum standards of decency.

It occurs to me that the Boston Tea Party occurred in Massachusetts. The blue state that legalizes gay marriage. The state where traditional marriages succeed very well. Okay, they only stay together to spite you.

Boston is a great city. A destination for immigrants since before we were a nation. A diverse city since before we invented Diversity. So drink your tea. Myself, I’m a coffee drinker. It fuels blogging.