Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sen. Al knows his chickens and his grit

Our future, according to Big Al: Baby Boomers pick grit with the chickens. 
I'm accustomed to seeing Big Al all over the state.

He was at the grand reopening of the BBHC in Cody. He was featured in a juvenile justice documentary speaking about his own run-in with the law as a teen. He attended the 2010 Governor's Arts Awards in Cheyenne to support fellow arts patron Naoma Tate.

He's been very involved in the refurbishing of the Heart Mountain Internment Center near Cody. During World War II, a young Al Simpson and his Boy Scout troop joined forces with the Scout troop at Heart Mountain on some community projects. That's how he and former internee Norman Mineta, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation, became lifelong friends. They were both at the rededication of the historic monuments at Heart Mountain in several years ago. I anticipate that both will be attending the Heart Mountain Interpretive Center's grand opening Aug. 19-21.

Sen. Alan "Big Al" Simpson,a Republican from Cody, is one of the most visible politicians in the country. During the current Congressional fight over the budget, he may end up being one of the most recognizable moderates in the news. Seems funny when you consider that Sen. Al retired from elected office way back in the last century.

But he keeps popping up. He co-chaired with Erskine Bowles the president's deficit commission, nicknamed the "cat food commission" after a quip by the senator. The senator has a million of them and many are funny or, at least, catchy.

Sen. Al had a front row seat two weeks ago for Pres. Obama's budget speech. Talking to reporters after the speech, he uttered another quotable quote. Here's part of the story from The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire:
“Pray for the Gang of Six,” Mr. Simpson told two reporters after the speech, referring to a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Senate who are working on a deficit-reduction plan. “They are six guys, three Republicans, three Democrats, that are committed to doing something.

The “Gang of Six,” are Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Kent Conrad of North Dakota, and Richard Durbin of Illinois and Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and Mike Crapo of Idaho. 
“Just pray for the Gang of Six,” he said. “You guys your age, keep praying.”

What happens if the Gang of Six fails? Mr. Simpson was asked.

“Guys like you will be picking grit with the chickens when you are 65,” he replied. End of interview.
That's the fear of millions of Americans, that we will spend our retirement picking grit with the chickens. That's even worse than eating catfood. Nutritional value of grit=0. Nutritional value of catfood (especially the gourmet kind)=much more than zero (look on your catfood label).

This "Gang of Six" is not the answer to the budget battle. As far as I know, none of them has brought up raising revenue along with budget cuts.

The House version of the budget-cutting bill will go nowhere in the Senate. Those already on Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security will be rattled and may vote for more Democrats in 2012. Those about to retire are nervous due to the fact that I have no chickens and I don't like grit. If the Repubs get their way, I will have to follow in the footsteps of my locavore brethren and sistren and get a coop filled with Rhode Island Reds.

Wyoming, of course, has plenty of grit to pick. I'm staking out my claim now.

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