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Legislation Suggestions

Since the political time of crazy doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, I thought I’d take a few minutes to suggest some things that might not stop the madness, but will at least move it in a direction that would make me happier.

The “Get Off Your Ass” Welfare Reform Bill

This bill would set a 24 month limit on use of social welfare programs per person in a 60 month period, require 20 hours a week of vocational training or volunteer time for adult recipients, and set a 60 month lifetime limit on receiving government welfare.  Waiver of these requirements and restrictions would be possible only upon a simple majority non-voice vote by both houses of Congress, and would need to be renewed every 180 days by the same process.

The “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is” Charitable Giving Reform Bill

Would amend the tax code to remove the cap on writing off charitable giving on personal and corporate income taxes.  Private charity is usually a more efficient alternative to government welfare, and this way the American taxpayer could decide which causes they want to support.

The “Why Does the Education Department Need Shotguns?” Federal Law Enforcement Reform Bill

This bill would restrict the ability of federal employees to arrest people and be issued a firearm to uniformed ICE officers, agents of the FBI and the Secret Service, and U.S. Marshals.  Let the ATF go to the Marshals or the FBI, or better yet, local law enforcement, if they need somebody arrested or somewhere raided.

The “Why Does the Marine Corps Need a Stealth Fighter?” Defense Acquisitions Reform Bill

An act that would require the military services to re-justify all programs that have been in development longer than five years and/or have cost more than 20% more than their original cost estimates.  I’ve always found it amazing how requirements get pared down when you make somebody re-justify something that isn’t working or has expanded like a tick on a hog’s rump.

So, do y’all have anything you’d like to suggest?  You get bonus points if you come up with a clever title to your bill.

 

A Year of Poetry – Day 332

“You ask me why I dwell in the green mountain;
I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care.
As the peach-blossom flows down stream
and is gone into the unknown,
I have a world apart that is not among men.”

— Li Po, Question and Answer on the Mountain

A Year of Poetry – Day 331

Waves roll in columns on their usual route – 
    Splashing and humming, they run; 
People, too, stride in a lousy crowd – 
    Every one trails everyone.     
Waves favor cold of their slavery more
    Than heat of midday sunny rays,
People take care of their souls… But lo! – 
    Their souls are colder than waves!              

-- Mikhail Lermentov, Waves and People

Today’s Earworm

A Year of Poetry – Day 330

There is a river we all must cross,
Thousands will pass it tomorrow;
Some will go down to its waters with joy,
Others with anguish and sorrow.

Some will be welcom’d by angel bands,
Coming from over the river;
Others be borne by the current adown,
Where there is none to deliver.

These shall land safely in Eden’s bow’rs,
Wearing the white robes of pardon;
Those shall be cast on a desolate shore,
Far from the gates of the garden.

These shall have voices to join the song
Ever from Eden ascending;
Those shall unite in the wailings of woe
Woe, that hath never an ending.

Over the river we all must cross,
Jesus may call us tomorrow;
Shall we go down to its waters with joy?
Shall we with anguish and sorrow?

— Henry Clay Work, There Is A River We All Must Cross

A Year of Poetry – Day 329

Nature, it seems, is the popular name
for milliards and milliards and milliards
of particles playing their infinite game
of billiards and billiards and billiards.

— Piet Hein, Atomyriedes

News Roundup

  • From the “Lupine Loping” Department – A woman in Canada was surprised when she was overtaken on the road by a pair of wolves out for a jog.  It’s good to see animal Olympians putting in the hours even during the off years.  This reminds me of the beginning of one of my favorite book series.  No word yet on whether authorities were able to identify the wolves or ticket them for speeding.
  • From the “Border Birthing” Department – A young woman from Arizona was able to make it back to the border when she went into labor while visiting Mexico.  Customs and Border Protection officers assisted her in the birth when the little bundle of joy decided to not wait for EMS.  According to unnamed sources, the Justice Department has declined to prosecute the mother for smuggling a human being across the border in her womb.
  • From the “First You Say It, Then You Do It” Department – Australian authorities are asking folks in Sydney to turn in any pieces of an airplane that lost its propeller so that they can piece together what happened to it.  This reporter has learned that the mechanic just assumed that Saab, the aircraft’s Swedish manufacturer, just included extra bolts along with the allen wrench in the box it came in.
  • From the “Bad Idea” Department – A Kentucky woman was arrested recently when she allegedly brought a needle and heroin into a Louisville courtroom.  One of the many side effects of illicit opiate use seems to be a lowering of I.Q.  I compliment the judge in this case for telling the young lady to get herself together or she would be looking at prison time.  From the other information in the report, I cannot imagine how she keeps her humanity intact seeing what washes through her courtroom day after day.

Snippet

Since it’s Saint Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d let you all have a short peek into “Lady of Eyre,” the third, and final, part of the second Minivandians book.  It’s with alpha readers now, so I expect to have it out by the end of April.

Enjoy!


 

Ruarin awoke to the sound of men’s voices in the corridor outside the room she shared with her father. She had fallen asleep before sunset the night before, and the soft mattress beneath her felt wonderful. A day of rest and food had done much to restore her strength, but she had decided against spending the evening beside one the fire to listen to tales and song.

She lay her head back down and closed her eyes. Sleep did not return, though, because a cacophony of barks and baying erupted in the quiet night air.

The Lady of Eyre sat up at the sound, then rushed to the window. In the torchlight, she saw a large pack of hounds, with shaggy ears flopping and long tails wagging, approaching the tavern. The night watch shouted as the vanguard of the noisy band made its way into the courtyard and halted in a cloud of dust in front of the stable.

Ruarin grabbed her robes and bolted for the door. It was then she noticed that her father, Mael, was no longer in the room. Everyone in the house seemed to be trying to get down the stairway at once, but when the men noticed a noblewoman trying to make her way downstairs, they stepped aside and let Ruarin pass.

Waiting for her outside the door was a troop of armored men and women, none of them taller than the ladies hips. At their head, Tomultach stood with his knobbed walking stick in one hand and the reins to his mount in the other. His beast was a large brown and white hound, several hands high at the shoulder, with one ear that stood up and one that flopped down over its eye. The dog’s tongue hung out of his snout as he panted from his run, but his tail was held high and wagged back and forth furiously at the ladies’ approach. Tomultach bowed low to Ruarin when she walked out of the tavern.

“Ah, but it’s good to see you, my lady,” he said in his deep voice.  He wore leather and bronze armor which shone in the light of the rising moon, and he carried a sword in a jeweled scabbard at his belt. A leather helmet set with an iron band covered his head, and a small shield rested on his saddle.

Ruarin returned the small man’s bow. “Greetings, old friend,” she replied. “Father tells me that you’ve been most helpful.”

Tomultach made a dismissive gesture with his walking stick. “T’was nothing,” he said. “I hadn’t spoken to Echrad in too long, anyway.” He shared a smile with Ruarin over that.

Behind them, they heard someone shouting and turned to see what the commotion was. King Seanagh and his lieutenants, including Ruarin’s father, came out of the building, some already dressed for battle.

“What in hell is going on?” he demanded. His eyes were bloodshot from lack of sleep, and Ruarin noticed that several of his nobles looked as if they had been drinking.

Tomultach bowed low to the king, although not as low as he had to Ruarin. “King Seanagh, I am Tomultach mac Eoghan. I’ve come here, with my family, to pledge our support in your fight tomorrow.”

King Seaghan did not return the salute. Instead, he looked about in amazement. The tavern’s yard was filled with hounds, each with a warrior upon its back. The air was no longer filled with the sound of their baying, but the occasional yip and growl did filter through the murmurs of the gathering crowd of Eyrischmen.

“How do you know there’s to be a battle?” he finally asked.

Tomultach looked up at him with one eye squinting. “Well, majesty, I doubt you got dressed up like that for a ladies’ tea,” he replied.

“How did you know the king would be here?” one of the noblemen accompanying the king demanded.

Tomultach looked up. “Lord Murchadha, is it?” he said gravely. The man nodded.

“Well, my lord, there’s not much that happens in this land that we don’t hear about,” Tomultach replied with a wry smile. “For example, last night, you had yourself a nice meat pie, half a jug of the tavern’s best beer, and a slap on the face from Master Donagh’s eldest daughter for dinner.”

This brought a rumble of laughter from the other lords, while Murchadha looked furious at having been made the butt of a joke. He sputtered for a moment before a raised hand from the king quieted him.

“Master Tomultach, I accept your service, but I must ask, what will your clan provide?” Seanagh asked once his men had stilled themselves.

“Why, only one hundred fifty of the best riders in your lands, majesty,” Old Tom replied. He gestured to the mob of hounds behind them.

“The legends say that your folk went to battle on the backs of fire drakes,” the king said.

“Well, now, that’s a sad tale, your majesty. A sad tale,” Tomultach said with a shake of his head. “You see, one of your ancestors, he was a great holy man who banished all of the serpents from the kingdom.”

“I’ve heard the story,” Seanagh said. “And now?”

“Well, your majesty, when the snakes fled, so did the drakes!” Tomultach cried out indignantly. “So, we had to find ourselves something else to ride.” He patted his hound on the flank. The dog, delighted at the attention, reciprocated with a lick that pushed his master to the side.

“Well, then you’re doubly welcome,” King Seaghan said. He suppressed a yawn, then called out. “Let’s all get some rest. Tomorrow promises to be a long day.”

 

A Year of Poetry – Day 328

When the cows come home the milk is coming,
Honey’s made while the bees are humming;
Duck and drake on the rushy lake,
And the deer live safe in the breezy brake;
And timid, funny, brisk little bunny,
Winks his nose and sits all sunny.

— Christina Georgina Rossetti, When The Cows Come Home The Milk Is Coming

A Year of Poetry – Day 327

SWEET rois of vertew and of gentilness,
Delytsum lily of everie lustynes,
Richest in bontie and in bewtie clear,
And everie vertew that is wenit dear,
Except onlie that ye are mercyless

Into your garth this day I did persew;
There saw I flowris that fresche were of hew;
Baith quhyte and reid most lusty were to seyne,
And halesome herbis upon stalkis greene;
Yet leaf nor flowr find could I nane of rew.

I doubt that Merche, with his cauld blastis keyne,
Has slain this gentil herb, that I of mene;
Quhois piteous death dois to my heart sic paine
That I would make to plant his root againe,–
So confortand his levis unto me bene.

— William Dunbar, To a Lady

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