Posts Tagged 'benefit cuts'

Where have our priorities gone?

We subscribe to the Ventura County Star.  Since they refuse to deliver the NY Times, the LA Times or even the Bakersfield Herald to my mailbox, I have by default come to call the Star The World’s Greatest Newspaper.

If the Star didn’t have the NY Times Crossword and their own Letters to the Editor, I’d probably cancel the paper and save a lot of trees.  I might even survive the loss of the Crossword, but Letters to the Editor…never.  Some of the funniest lines ever written find their way to the Letters page.  I’m fairly sure the writers never intended that their carefully thought out and meticulously researched letters be laughed at, but it’s something that can be depended on in nearly every issue.

So I start with the Star’s Section B cause that’s where the fun is.  It also has local news, something that you can’t get on CNN, FOX or MSNBC.  Saturday’s edition was no exception and it even showcased a story close to home.  “Ojai Girl Fights Rare Condition” the masthead screamed.  And a very cute picture of adorable four-year old Aubrey smiled at me from the center of the page.  I wondered if I knew the family so I began to read the story.  A not yet fully diagnosed illness has plagued Aubrey since she was born.  Compounded by a number of medical mis-steps, little Audrey has been in and out of the hospital and now suffers the added burden of a feeding tube attached to a backpack full of nutrients.  Poor baby.

Five hospital stays in the last four months have compounded the family’s problems and depleted their financial resources.  The There but for the grace of God go I story ended with the promise that a fundraiser would soon be held.

Starved for something funny to counterbalance this tale of woe, I turned to the Letters page, skimmed an indecipherable Bill O’Reilly opinion piece and scanned the Letters.  I unanimously voted Lois of Oxnard the Bozo of the Day award.  Using the documented evidence always present as the cornerstone of Republican thinking, Lois reminded us that George Bush brought down gas prices in the first few days of his tenure and then concluded her Harvard thesis by imploring God to dump Obama in November.  But even this hilarity wasn’t enough to soften the heartache of the Aubrey story.

So I did something I rarely do.  I turned to the front page of the newspaper.  Taxes and school deficits were nicely counterbalanced by the chance to win a bazillion dollars in the Mega Millions jackpot.  Not bad.  I went on to page two and was amply rewarded with the picture of a smiling couple who had just engineered a double suicide.  Sa-weet.

Page three chronicled the story of the state Democratic campaign treasurer who embezzled $7 million from the party coffers, showing I suppose that Democrats can’t be trusted either.

And finally there was a photo of Leon Panetta quoted as saying “military cuts are rash.”  You may remember that these cuts are part of the absence of an agreement between the Democrats and Republicans on how to save $1.2 trillion buckeroos.  Since the twelve disciples on the special committee couldn’t come up with a plan, the default position was to cut the funding half from Defense and, putting a local face on things, half from little Aubrey.  Secretary Panetta concluded his remarks with this sage statement about Congress…What they essentially did is put a gun to their heads and the heads of the country.  Or to put a local face on it, little Aubrey’s head.

I’m a big supporter of our armed forces.  I don’t want to slash their budget to the point where Fidel Castro can easily maneuver his walker into my bedroom and suffocate me with a super burrito.  We even went to see Act of Valor where we patriotically joined seven other bewildered people on a Saturday evening.  The other three hundred people were next door watching Hunger Games, a story about little kids killing other little kids.  Inspiring.  No, I don’t want to slash the military budget but maybe a surface abrasion or even a painful papercut would be in order.

I’m sure little Aubrey is a big fan of the armed forces too.  Maybe she even understands why her parents need to have a fund-raiser so she can get the medical care she needs and rid herself of that backpack.  Maybe she even appreciates why Congressman Ryan wants to slash medical benefits while giving even larger tax breaks to those folks who might then be more inclined to attend her fundraiser.  But I doubt that even little Aubrey can understand how Justice Scalia can equate her medical disaster to broccoli.


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