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Today's top news story comes from across the pond, where a new Royal We is in the making. I normally wouldn't comment on such an event, but I hear from the media it's the wedding of the century, therefore I feel compelled. I only hope I have my facts straight. In jolly old England, Prince Wilbur, the Lord of the Whales, is marrying a commoner, Eliza Doolittle, a Cockney street flower girl. The blessed union will take place next April, when the Queen and the rest of the Royal Family will take time off from their busy hand waving and fox hunting schedules to attend the excessive display of Pomp And Circumstance at the Westminster Kennel Club. Every media outlet known to mankind will also be in attendance. Both the Royal Family and the papparazzi are said to be absolutely thrilled. Wilbur's father, Prince Bonnie Ray Charles, who is the other Lord of the Whales as well as the Duke Of Peterframptonsonchestershireville, was so elated that he gave the marriage a resounding "it's about time," followed by a hearty "tally ho." As for the media, Michado Abootnuttin of the National Taint assured the public that the papparazzi could and would harass the happy couple relentlessly until they both go stark raving mad, thus ensuring yet more sensationalist tabloid trash at your nearest supermarket checkout aisle in the near future. "Think Lady Di," said Abootnuttin. "It's money in the bank." I'm pretty sure this Lady Di of whom Abootnuttin speaks was that great black jazz singer from the 1940's who got hooked on drugs. A tragic tale. Here's to wishing Miss Doolittle a far better future.
In other blockbuster wedding news, my knocked up ex-sister-in-law might get married again next year at the city courthouse. No papparazzi is expected to cover the event, but I hear there will be a kegger at her boyfriend's house after the ceremony. Bring a covered dish.
Now back to my usual programming.
The lame-duck Congress has set its priorities for the final session. Will the lames finally pass the overdue budget for FY2011 to avoid a government shutdown ? Doubtful, but they'll probably push through some last minute temporary stopgap budgeting so the government can continue spending money it doesn't have for a few more months. Will the lames renew the Bush tax cuts to avoid giving us all a big fat holiday tax increase surprise ? Beats me, but we suddenly have brand new "urgent" lame duck legislative priorities coming from the White House - congressional approval of the new START treaty to replace the one that expired a year ago (wasn't the real urgency LAST year ?), and the DREAM Act to give younger illegal immigrants conditions-based amnesty, thus encouraging yet more illegal immigration to this country when our border is not yet secured. That's a problem, President Obama. Are you looking for more young voters to fool for the 2012 election, or what ? I can think of no other reason for lame-duck "urgency" on this subject. The DREAM Act was first proposed in 2001. While I do have sympathy for children who were brought to this country illegally by their parents through no fault of their own, the DREAM Act has some real problems, which I'll need another post to address.
On the new START treaty, I must begin by saying President Obama's pipedream of a nuclear-free world is childish and unrealistic. Neither he nor anyone else can unring the nuclear bell. The only country we can truly disarm is our own, and it would be extremely foolish and dangerous for us to do so. That being said, I can support the weapons reductions in the new START treaty Obama signed with Russia. I basically agree with what Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton said over the weekend on both Fox News Sunday and Meet The Press. Here's a transcript from Fox:
WALLACE: The Obama administration is pushing for a vote this year on the new START treaty agreement with the Russians, but the lead Republican, Jon Kyl, says that there's not enough time in this session, this lame duck session, before the end of the year. And the fact is you only have one of the nine Republican votes you need. Aren't you taking a big chance pushing for a vote this year and running the risk of suffering a major embarrassing defeat on the world stage?
CLINTON: Well, Chris, I have a great deal of respect for all of my colleagues, Democratic and Republican, in the Senate. And I think that everyone is trying to figure out how to do the right thing on this important treaty.
I would just make three quick points. One, this is in the national security interest of the United States. There's no doubt about it. In fact, what I was a heartened by and even a little surprised by at the NATO meeting was the number of people like Chancellor Merkel of Germany, like foreign ministers and prime ministers and presidents from the Baltic countries, from Central and Eastern Europe, like the editorial written by the foreign minister of Poland, people who on the ground in Europe, nearby Russia, many of whom were part of the former Soviet Union, who are saying, "Please ratify this treaty now, United States Senate."
Now, why are they saying that? Not because they have a dog in the hunt between Republicans and Democrats in our country. It's because they know that this would be an important treaty for the continuing cooperation between Russia and the United States.
Secondly, we do not have any inspectors verifying what Russia is doing with their nuclear stockpile or anything else that is going on in their sights. We lost that capacity.
If you talk to any of our intelligence experts like General Jim Clapper, the new director of the National Intelligence Agency, they will tell you we can cannot go much longer without that capacity restored.
And finally, this is in the tradition of not just bipartisan but nonpartisan action on behalf of arms control treaties, going back to President Reagan, who famously said, "Trust but verify." Well, right now we have no verification.
So what we are arguing is that we'll find the time in the lame duck. I understand the legitimate concern that there might not be enough time to debate, to make sure that everybody is well informed. But as Senator Lugar, who is one of the leading experts in the world on the dangers posed by nuclear weapons, on the necessity of having more insight into what Russia's doing -- he said we cannot wait. I agree with him.
And so we're continuing to work with all of our Democratic and Republican senators to try to get to a point where we can hold that vote this year.
I have to say, this is the best answer coming from a Democrat I've heard in a long time. What a refreshing change from the relentless partisanship that Obama puts forth at every turn. Notice the respect Hillary gave to the opposing party, legitimizing GOP concerns, and even citing President Reagan's policy in her answer. THAT is how leaders are supposed to act. THAT is how you build consensus instead of splitting the country apart as Obama has done. I'll say it one more time - you nominated the wrong person in 2008, Democrats. I certainly disagree with Hillary on some issues, and she has made her share of mistakes (Hillarycare, the "vast right wing conspiracy"), but I do have respect for her intelligence, and she is right about the START treaty. We should get it done, either now or in the new Congress.