Tag Archives: Mike Johnson

Giving Thanks


“Thank you for your service.”

It is an expression that rolls off the tongue. Thanking someone in uniform as they trek through an airport or walk down a sidewalk has become commonplace.

The expression can take many different forms, from a simple ‘thanks’ and maybe a handshake to a fireworks popping flyover, flag-waving spectacle at a professional football game.

It is certainly most often a gesture made in hopes of lifting the spirit of a service member, a tiny step forward to express appreciation for what a soldier has done for the country, whatever that might be, from suffering the horrors of warfare to shuffling papers at the Pentagon.

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Get Off PA System, Just Fly the Plane


You want a plan to create jobs? Here’s a good one:

1.    Simplify the tax code, reduce capital gains, corporate and dividend taxes, and improve the climate for American businesses overseas.
2.    Open up domestic exploration of oil, encourage use of natural gas and clean coal technology, increase use of biofuels, and increase supplies from our friends, like Canada.
3.    Repeal burdensome regulations spawned by Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley laws, repeal and replace Obamacare, and repeal regulations that inhibit economic growth, particularly those recently promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the National labor Relations Board.
4.    Improve our relations with Asian economies and finally ratify pending agreements with South Korea, Panama and Columbia.
5.    Enact patent reform, reform the Federal Drug Administration and privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
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Random Thoughts


 Item One:  Unsavory Nature of Political Campaigns

 What I saw of the Iowa Republican Presidential primary debate, and it wasn’t much, brought to mind two unsavory aspects of American political campaigns that politicians, the press and the public ought to try to temper before we go full throttle into the 2012 races.

The first was incivility. The media carnival barkers and fire-breathing partisans were anxious for the candidates to brutalize one another, particularly fellow Minnesotans Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty.  From news reports of the debate—again, I missed some of the exchanges, they got some of what they wanted, but not much.  I am told the two Minnesotans went at it, dropping the Minnesota nice persona—isn’t that special—but they really did not beat the bejesus out of each other.

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Debt Ceiling Debacle: Message There



My neighbor looked across the dining room table. “I would vote for anyone on either side…if they had solutions,” he said. “I feel helpless.  What can we do?”

His wife had a suggestion: “If we voted them all out would that help?” 

“You just did that a year ago,” I said.  “You can’t just keep voting them out and voting them back in again.” 

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Three R’s of Christmas

Reprinted from the
washingtonexaminer.com blog

Sitting in an easy chair, with the laptop resting easy on your lap, eating dark chocolate with a diet, caffeine-free coke chaser, just contemplating Christmas.  The World BoyChoir’s  rendition of Joy to the World is coming from the speakers.  The tree is lit, surrounded by presents.  There’s love in the room and the house is warm while outside it’s nasty cold. 

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Selecting Committee Chairmen an Inside Job


Several conservative outside interest groups are engaged in a campaign to prevent Congressmen Fred Upton of Michigan and Jerry Lewis of California from becoming committee chairmen, Upton on Energy and Commerce and Lewis on Appropriations.  That’s according to the Washington Times.

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Media Missed Mark on Campaign Coverage

By Michael S. Johnson

Delta Airlines’ Sky Magazine had a 26-page spread last month on the Midwest’s new tourist hotspot, North Dakota . It featured Governor– and now U.S. Senator-elect– John Hoeven, who  gets much of the credit for making North Dakota one of the most prosperous states in the country.

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Process, Policy Both Critical to Governing


Several years ago Congress authorized an earmark of $223 million in tax dollars to build a bridge in Alaska from the mainland to a practically uninhabited island. The bridge funding caught national attention and public ire. It became the “bridge to nowhere” and the iconic symbol of government waste. It rekindled a campaign that may result in the demise of the earmarking process.

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Burning of the Koran, Another View



I have a little different take on the plans of the Rev. Terry Jones to burn Korans on Saturday.

          I disagree with the President that it is a teachable moment.

          I disagree with Mayor Bloomberg that it is protected under the First Amendment and should therefore be tolerated.

          I disagree with John Feehery that it may reflect another step down the path of “religious intolerance, hatred and extreme sectarianism.”

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Bike Riding With Big Brother


 My Democratic friends and one very close relative often ask me why I’m a Republican.  Another of the many reasons revealed itself to me recently from the window of a cab.  I was traveling down historic Pennsylvania Avenue on my way to Capitol Hill.

             Pennsylvania Avenue is America’s Avenue.  It is a great corridor of history linking the nation’s Capitol and the White House, and then winding its way westward into Georgetown, the village on the Potomac River that predates Washington.  On either side are the Treasury and Commerce departments, District of Columbia city hall, the Old Post Office and Evening Star buildings, the Canadian Embassy, the FBI, the Newseum, the Navy Memorial and the majestic Willard Hotel where Ulysses S Grant used to go for a cigar and brandy in the afternoons.

 Pennsylvania Avenue is wide, four lanes going each way with a blacktop boulevard in the middle, where the trolley car tracks used to be.

             The avenue is a sight to behold, an American treasure, especially in the golden hour of early evening when the orange and yellow hews of the setting sun turn the Capitol dome into one of the most beautiful American portraits you’ll ever see.

 But I digress.

             Part of Pennsylvania Avenue’s character was its lack of urban congestion.  The only traffic jams on the avenue were those created by Presidential motorcades, the movement of important international visitors and Washington’s occasional snowstorms.   Not so anymore.

             That was until earlier this year when the Washington D.C. City Government, one of the most liberal, exclusively Democratic, and–dare I use the word–socialist-leaning in the country, decided to close off two lanes and restrict them to bikes only. The former  motor vehicle lanes are now bike lanes going in each direction, complete with their own turn lanes and those brightly painted turn arrows and go-straight arrows. 

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Solutions Are in the Center, But It’s Invisible


            “The Vanishing Middle in American Politics” That headline made me reach for the reading glasses Sunday morning.   Holy voter! Batman, when did the middle vanish? 

            The headline on a story by AP reporter Ron Fournier was misleading, of course. The great middle of American politics–centrists, independents, moderates, whatever you call them (it’s instructive that they don’t have a brand), has not vanished at all.  Those voters, in the words of Democratic consultant Steve McMahon, make up “the invisible middle.”   The middle is ignored, he said in the article, because the politicians are concentrating on the noisemakers. 
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Economic Recovery A Matter of Culture


“I’m scared.”

That was the response of the guest speaker at a luncheon the other day, after I told him his speech was a little scary.  We were riding down the elevator together and by the time the doors opened to the lobby I was convinced he was serious.

                The speaker was Dr. Alan Greenspan, the man who served as chairman of the Federal Reserve for 18 years and is as much admired as he is despised.   Whatever you think of him and his tenure, his remarks were chilling. 

                 Greenspan’s message was that the short-term economic outlook is pretty decent because the stock market is driving the recovery.  The long-term outlook, however, is grim. That’s because eventually U.S. debt is going to consume so much capital that there will too little left for the private sector to borrow.

When the private sector cannot borrow it cannot produce and when it cannot produce, the economy fails.   

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Why Congress Is So Dysfunctional



            The Sunday talk shows again this week devoted a lot of attention to the dysfunction of Congress. In fact, it was the theme of Face the Nation, which featured two members of the Senate with a reputation for bipartisanship, Democrat Bayh of Indiana and Republican Graham of South Carolina.
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