Monthly Archives: June 2013

How Much Would You Pay?

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That is all it takes to get a person to do something different when it comes to health care cost containment.

We found out yesterday from a veteran of medical billing services that everyone ‘says’ they want their own doctor, their own prescriptions from their local pharmacy, their own local hospital….until they can find the same level of service somewhere else for $20 less.

So much for ‘loyalty’ in the medical field, huh? Continue reading

Conservative Movement in Crisis

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Conservatives are getting their butts kicked and if they don’t start changing their tactics and their approach to issues, liberalism will dominate the mainstream for years to come.

On gay marriage, abortion, immigration reform, the Farm bill, simple governance, the left-wing has momentum and a plan.

Look what is happening to George Zimmerman. He is being railroaded by an all too eager media.

Look at the response to the Gay marriage decision. You would think that we had just won the Second World War. This wasn’t V-J Day though. With V-Gay Day. And conservatives could only shake their heads and wonder what happened to American society. Continue reading

The Incredible Shrinking Presidency

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Rare Opening SIDEBAR:

After it was reported that President Obama said in Africa, “I’m not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker,” I Tweeted: “Hell, he didn’t even scramble jets to save a U.S. Ambassador.”

That was re-Tweeted 204 times as of 9 o’clock last night which counts as “Trending” at Mullings Central. If you’re not already, you should follow me on Twitter at @richgalen.

End Rare Opening SIDEBAR

The President is in Africa on a perfectly meaningless goodwill trip to somewhere and somewhere else while back here in our nation’s capital it was one of the most important weeks in the history of the Republic. Continue reading

A Civil Conversation

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George Zimmerman. Paula Deen. The Supreme Court. Immigration Reform. Can we have a healthy discussion about race and ethnicity in this country?

We are about to find out.

The media loves this stuff. It loves to pick at the scabs of racial animosity because that helps to sell newspapers, boost ratings, and drive web traffic. MSNBC will have wall-to-wall coverage of the Zimmerman trial. It is a constant feature in their daily and nightly shows.

The facts of the case are fairly routine. There was a scuffle and somebody got shot. It happens every day in America, usually multiple times a day.

Continue reading

The United States of…France

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It’s now official. America is the France of the 21st century.

France was a big power in the 18th and 19th centuries. The French were pretty much in a constant state of war what with everything from the Seven Years’ War, to the French and Indian Wars, to the American Revolution, to the Napoleonic Wars.

Then came the 20th Century when World War I was mostly fought on French soil leading to their preemptive surrender in World War II. Since then the French still pretend to be a full-fledged member of the Planetary Cool Kids Table, but they have to sit on the end and fetch extra pints of milk for the real members. Continue reading

In Defense of Marco Rubio

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Originally printed in The Hill

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is trying to save the conservative movement from itself. The question today is: Will it let itself be saved?

As an upstart outsider, Rubio ran against the Washington establishment and the conventional wisdom to take on a seemingly invincible Florida governor in a heated race for an open Senate seat.

But it turned out that Charlie Crist was a paper tiger, and his campaign collapsed in the heat of the Florida summer, leaving Rubio as the conquering Tea Party hero.

Almost immediately, the new Florida senator and Republican star hinted that he wasn’t entirely comfortable merely being a product of the Tea Party. He wasn’t an isolationist, and he believed in a muscled American foreign policy, a departure from the newly dominant Ron Paul wing of the Tea Party. As a former Speaker of the Florida House of Continue reading

Common Core

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In the workout world, the “core” is what you do to make your lower back pain-free. You work your abs, you work your legs, you do sit-ups and push-ups, you stretch, you work with the medicine ball, etc. etc.

If you get your core in shape, the rest of the body will follow. It’s really not that much different than getting your “core” education right.

There is a debate going on in the world of politics about common core standards. Several states have adopted common “core” curriculum standards to help guide teachers and school administrators about what kids should be learning on the different subjects. Continue reading


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Heads of state – presidents, prime ministers, dictators, whatever – cannot know all the details of what is going on in their country much less in the other person’s country. That’s why before a modern “summit” between or among heads of state, battalions of high- mid- and low-level staffers go through every conceivable subject and produce forests of briefing papers to prepare the principal.

According to the late William Safire writing in the New York Times, the word “summit” to describe a meeting of heads of state was coined by (no surprise) Winston Churchill in 1950 when he called for a “parley on the summit” of a few heads of state to chart the post-war world rather than, as Churchill put it, “‘hordes of experts and officials drawn up in a vast cumbrous array.'” Continue reading

Language Matters

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I’ve been involved with writing of one sort or another for more than 45 years – I was a reporter, in press work in politics, and a public relations consultant. I have been involved with hiring folks who need to write (from speechwriters to op-ed writers to just people who can send an understandable email to others) for almost as many years.

I came to the conclusion long ago that writing is becoming, unfortunately, a lost art/craft. Finding good writers is very hard. I’ve always thought it’s because our schools don’t focus anymore on the three R’s (readin’, ritin’, ‘rithmetic) like when I was a kid. There’s a piece in the New York Times today written by someone who’s been a college professor and laments, in the article, the loss of humanities majors as young folks focus on majors more likely to pay off quickly in a job to pay their bills and make their parents proud (both excellent goals). Continue reading

Can The Farm Bill Come Back?

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One of the reasons Denny Hastert followed the “majority of the majority” rule was pretty simple: He couldn’t trust the Democrats.

The nature of the House of Representatives is to allow the Majority to eventually get its ways. Rules are put in place to protect the minority’s rights, but in the House, unlike in the Senate, the Majority rules.

Sometimes finding out what the majority really stands for is difficult, and through much of the 20th century, constructing a majority coalition transcended party membership. Continue reading

When Spies Were Spies, and Skunks, Skunks


Back in the Stone Age, when I was a kid, even a pre-teen in the backwoods of Maine was aware of a man named Allen Dulles, who had spent the War (you know, the War) in Switzerland spying on the Nazis, and then was chosen to head up our new American espionage agency, the CIA. Dulles, whose brother, John Foster Dulles, was Secretary of State at the time, was the very template for the caricature of the tweedy, pipe-smoking superspy.

Even little kids like me knew that he knew stuff nobody else knew, and we knew we were glad he did. We felt safer knowing there were real, live spies fighting the Cold War with the USSR and making sure it didn’t become a Hot War.  Continue reading

The Right Bet on the Future

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The Congressional Budget Office used dynamic scoring to predict how the immigration bill, now winding its way through Congress, would impact the deficit.

That must really piss off conservatives who have long demanded that the CBO use that scoring method (which looks beyond numbers and tries to predict future behavioral changes) to predict how tax cuts would actually bring in more revenue.

The Heritage Foundation, which has long been on the forefront of demanding that the CBO use dynamic scoring, released its own analysis a few weeks ago that came up with far different conclusions. Continue reading

Headwinds for Obama

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There is almost no good news for President Barack Obama in the CNN/ORC poll that was released earlier this week.

As the President giggled and played rock, paper, scissors with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-8 Conference in Ireland, the bloom appears to have begun to come off the Obaman Rose as far as the American people are concerned.

This is one poll taken last week (Tuesday through Thursday) so it might not signal a trend, but it certainly won’t generate confidence in the West Wing. Continue reading

Whither The Republican Party

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Short  answer: I don’t know. But I do know that many of our new “frontrunners for the 2016 nomination” aren’t defining that path either.

I just read a piece by Bobby Jindal, Louisiana GOP governor, who said he’s laid out seven “ideas for change.” Let me briefly sum them up: stop looking back, compete for every vote, reject identity politics, stop being the stupid party, stop insulting the intelligence of voters, stop being the party of  “big,” focus on people not government.

Thanks, governor…but where are the ideas for change? I see navel gazing. Now where do you lay out a policy path for change, which is what the Republican Party really needs. I know the Tea Party types think they have that, and what they have is 100 percent acceptable…by them. Continue reading

Security Leaks Are Not Us


A 29-year-old kid, and I can call him a kid because I’m a 66-year-old grandparent, decides he should strike a blow for liberty and release highly classified information to the media and maybe directly to our adversaries.

So we’re again having an emotionally, politically, and ideologically charged debate over government secrets, national security, the public’s right to know, and the peoples’ right to privacy. It’s a good debate to have and keep having until we resolve some of the serious questions these incidents raise. Unfortunately, it will peter out soon after the next crisis erupts in the headlines.

It would be helpful, though, to break down those questions and focus on the most relevant.

The first question can be dispensed with rather quickly. Is Edward Joseph Snowden a hero or a criminal? Here’s a hint: Socialist filmmaker Michael Moore, libertarian Senator Rand Paul (who is already exploiting the incident to raise money), technology terrorist Julian Assange, the Russians and the Chinese think he’s a hero. Most legal and intelligence experts we’ve heard from think he’s a criminal. Senator Diane Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee called him a traitor. Continue reading

Friends & Enemies

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Human beings need enemies. Often for good; sometimes for ill. But having an easily definable enemy is very helpful.

Organizations need enemies to send you mail and call your home asking for donations. The March of Dimes was established by Franklin Delano Roosevelt to combat the crippling disease of polio.

With the advent of the Salk and later the Sabin vaccines, polio was effectively wiped out in the United States and the March of Dimes needed a new cause. It found one in preventing birth defects later expanding into helping women have healthy pregnancies.

During World War I and World War II the enemies were easy to identify. They wore uniforms that called out “I am your enemy” and combatants generally stayed on their own side of the battle line. Continue reading

Obama in Ireland

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It’s good that the President and the First Family traveled to Ireland, and all of these news reports that make a federal case out of the cost are missing the point.

It is safe to say that Mr. Obama would have never made it to the White House if it weren’t for two prominent Irish Americans.

Ted Kennedy gave the Illinois Senator the critical boost he needed when he endorsed him for President. And Richie Daley, the iconic Mayor of Chicago, gave the former community organizer the backing of his machine and its critical resources to help first get to the Senate and then make the leap to bigger things. Continue reading

Father’s Day


Father’s Day is the product, not surprisingly, of a woman’s effort, a daughter raised by a widower in Seattle a hundred years ago, but it took 60 years for the day commemorating fathers to be celebrated nationally.

I have enjoyed the observance of Father’s Day 32 times. And in most of those years, my children have presented me with cards, hand drawn with color crayons in the early years; gifts, many handmade, and a hearty Sunday brunch.

I have accepted all with gratitude, a few tears, some embarrassment for being the center of attention, and some guilt for accepting love and kudos when I know I wasn’t the best father I could have been or my children deserved.

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How to Pay What We Owe

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Inflation. Pure and simple.

Inflating the national currency is the tried-and-true way that governments have used for centuries and millennium to get their way out of budget problems caused by excessive debt.

But it is a dangerous bet and one that would not be necessary had we been responsible adults about our budgets and not run much debt, or any at all, over the past 40 years.

No budget deficits, no national debt. No need to borrow…from anyone. Case closed.

Inflation hit the stratospheric level of 12% per year in 1980-81. Interest rates spiked up to 21%. President Jimmy Carter’s anti-inflation policies were an abysmal, absolute, abject and total failure. Continue reading

Jedi Mind Trick Fail

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The Ranking Member of the House Government and Oversight Committee tried to channel his inner-Alec Guinness the other day, but he failed spectacularly.

Elijah Cummings, the Maryland Democrat, tried to pull one over on the American people earlier this week.  Here is how the Wall Street Journal’s John McKinnon put it:

“Earlier this week, the top Democrat on the committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), said he’s ready to drop the matter, following an interview on Thursday of an employee in the Cincinnati office that oversees handling of tax-exempt applications. The employee, who was a manager at the time, said the scrutiny started in early 2010 with an agent who noticed a single tea-party application come in, and flagged it for closer review. The manager “agreed that the case should be forwarded up the chain to technical officials in… Continue reading