The Edmond Sun


October 18, 2013

‘Mars Attacks’ perfectly describes Congress

EDMOND — By coincidence, I was watching a movie called “Mars Attacks” on the night Congress reached a deal to reopen the government. There are interesting parallels between the movie and the deal, which you’ll see in a moment.

In the film, Earth is overrun by merciless Martian invaders determined to destroy everything. Wherever the Martians go, they use deadly ray guns to vaporize every human being they see. As they carry out their worldwide campaign of annihilation they bring along batteries of loudspeakers blaring, “We come in peace. Don’t run away. We are your friends.” In light of their murderous behavior, this message is obviously ridiculous.

Now for the parallel. Throughout the parade of absurdities leading up to and during the shutdown, certain messages were frequently heard permeating the airwaves: “We are doing this for the good of America. It’s not really our fault. We really don’t have a choice.” In light of the behavior exhibited by our elected representatives, we are amply justified in questioning their sincerity.

As the great proverb teaches us, “Actions speak louder than words.” The average taxpaying American would be justified in asking, “If all this was done for the good of America, why were bereaved families of our fallen heroes treated with such callous disrespect?” Why did the politicians choose to shut down public roads to prevent us from viewing some of our national monuments even from afar? Why were service members who risked their lives to defend this country denied access to memorials in their honor? Why were certain chaplains threatened with arrest if they entered government installations even though they offered to perform their sacraments for free? Like the aliens in the movie who insisted they were our friends, we are justified in suspecting that someone in Washington is being dishonest.

Here are three things that might have come out of this circus that would have been good for America. Congress and the president might have taken some meaningful steps to get America’s runaway debt under control. Congress and the president might have taken pity on the American working family and extended the same Obamacare delay the president so generously extended to big business. If there was some critically important reason why individual taxpayers could not be spared, even temporarily, from the mandate, it would have been good for someone to explain why.

It would be wrong to say there were no winners in this legislative fiasco. While our legislators and our president engaged in an ego driven tug-of-war, they were quietly greasing up a multibillion-dollar slice of pork to slide into the legislative deal.

The Washington Examiner reported Oct. 16 that the Olmsted Lock and Dam Authority was quietly supplied with a $2.92 billion appropriation as part of the bill to reopen the government. Could this be true? Didn’t we hear from our Senate leadership that nothing short of a “clean continuing resolution” would be entertained? There are, of course, a number of ways to explain this. First, it might be said that pork, of any flavor, is an appropriate add on to any legislation. It also might be said that any add on of any kind, is clean, so long as it originates in the Senate.

The truth, however, is this that $2.9 billion appropriation will, for the most part, be spent in Kentucky, the home state of Sen. Mitch McConnell. As you know, Sen. McConnell just happens to be the minority leader in the U.S. Senate.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this $2.9 billion appropriation looks like a porcine reward to the Senate Minority Leader in return for his help in shoving the Senate appropriations bill down the throats of his colleagues in the House of Representatives. Well, you know what they say — if it walks like a duck.

It is no surprise that one of the chief advocates in support of this handsome appropriation is Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. The fact that the Democratic leadership is so eager to put a plausible face on this craftily included bit of pork should not be interpreted as evidence of a devil’s bargain — should it?

We should note, in passing, that there was also a $450 million tidbit distributed to the State of Colorado; another cleverly disguised bit of pork included in this “clean continuing resolution.”

I’m reminded of a quote by Edward Everett Hale who served as the Senate Chaplain early in the 20th century. When asked whether he prayed for the senators, he replied, “No sir, I take one look at the senators and pray for the country.” I’m Hink and I’ll see ya.

MIKE HINKLE is a retired attorney and Edmond resident.

Text Only
  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

  • Holding government accountable for open meeting violations

    A few weeks ago I wrote about the recent success of three important government transparency proposals which will go into law this year.

    July 21, 2014

  • GUEST OPINION — Oklahoma GOP voters want educational choices

    A Braun Research survey released in January showed that Oklahoma voters — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — favor parental choice in education.

    July 21, 2014

  • HEY HINK: IRS interferes with citizens’ rights of free speech

    The patient is gravely ill. We have detected traces of a deadly venom in the bloodstream. We don’t know how widespread the poison is, but we know, if not counteracted, toxins of this kind can rot the patient’s vital organs and could ultimately prove fatal.

    July 19, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo


If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
     View Results