Praise the Lord and Panama win
"Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the ...
"Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank. You tell me that if I take the deposits from the bank and annul its charter, I shall ruin ten thousand families. That may be true, gentlemen, but that is your sin! Should I let you go on, you will ruin fifty thousand families, and that would be my sin! You are a den of vipers and thieves."
-President Andrew Jackson (1832)
Today the Senate should vote on President Obama’s $800 billion+ economic stimulus package that the President says is needed to keep Americans working. Republicans, on the other hand, say the Senate bill is a pork-filled piñata that is simply throwing money away.
I have to side with the Republicans on this issue. Although polls show most Americans want a stimulus plan and three rebel Republicans will probably ensure its passage, I don’t like the way this ‘giveaway’ is structured. By putting much of the decision-making process in the hands of America’s mayors and state governments, I see miles and miles of highways and bridges to nowhere.
Forget about bipartisanship. Not a single Republican voted for the bill in the House, and 11 Democrats voted against it, crushing President Obama's promise of a new era of bipartisan cooperation. The President did get some Republican support in the Senate after cutting $40 billion for aid to state and local governments in favor of additional tax cuts. This concession, however, will anger House Democrats who will likely attempt to re-insert spending provisions into the final version of the bill and possibly drive away the bill’s three Republican supporters when the Senate looks at it again.
The Bottom line? Get ready for a tension-filled Tuesday where important economic issues will be reduced to 10-second sound bites and name-calling will trump cooperation.
A PR WIZARD - Last Sunday the Balboa Union Church was full of joy and excitement. Long-time church members Gary Stempel and his wife Traci were greeted by enthusiastic applause for Panama’s recent soccer victory over Costa Rica and the winning of the UNCAF Nations Gold Cup, thanks in large part to the expert coaching of Mr. Stempel. The 12-team field consists of the U.S., Canada, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama and Nicaragua. Panama ended Costa Rica's winning streak of three straight Central American championships when it beat the Tico team, 5-3, on penalty kicks in Sunday's final of the 2009 Cup Series played February 1st. Panama's win was sweet revenge for its 3-0 loss to Costa Rica in group play.
Secondly, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, was in town to speak before a group of Panamanian lawyers, and took a few moments to send a personal note to the BUC congregation, wishing it well. Jackson knows about the church’s activities, due in large part to the efforts of legendary Panama public relations wizard George Thomas. In fact, Thomas has one newspaper clipping from 1977 showing him standing next to the Reverend Jackson with Jesse sporting a huge afro hair style. How times have changed.
CALLING THE AMBASSADOR. Newly-arrived American Ambassador Barbara Stephenson missed an excellent chance to meet the common folk. Many American Society members and guests at the January 31 AMSOC Dry Season Picnic noticed her absence and regretted not being able to meet her. The event was a huge success with about 180 attendees at the Balboa Yacht Club. Hopefully, the Ambassador will show up at one of the Society’s upcoming events, inasmuch, that she is the Honorary President of the American Society. The Society has expressed no comment.
Chihuahua on a stick? Panama Star contributor, Barry Lloyd, disagrees with my angst for animals and supports the Chinese love of dogs and cats—in soup bowls. He feels it would be the perfect solution to end the constant barking and nuisance of dogs running into traffic around the city and also give hungry indigents much-needed protein.