Snow, Javelinas, and Sequestration

February 22, 2013

snow 008snow 005
Wednesday I was in class when someone announced It’s snowing!  Two-thirds of the students rushed from their computers to look.  Snow is rather a novelty in Tucson.  All of the mountain ranges around Tucson were white.  (Shown here the Rincons, east of the city.)

Thursday morning I woke to the desert dusted with white.  (See the snow tips on the saguaro arms?  And that’s my back yard.)  Guess it’s not spring yet.  Last weekend I had been outside in shorts and a T-shirt raking up dead leaves (from the weeklong freeze a month ago) thinking that spring in Tucson is more like fall.

This morning the mountains were gone.  The clouds had crept down them, perhaps readying for another attack.  Plus a light fog, the kind that has you cleaning your glasses and the windshield of your car, thinking that’s the problem.snow 002












javelinas 010javelinas 007
Yesterday a troop of ten javelinas meandered through my neighbor’s yard.  The cat and I were on the deck, and when she meowed one of them looked up.  Two of the herd were young.  Notice in the group photo the second from the top has his hackles raised.

Troop?  Herd?  What do you call a group of Javelinas?  I couldn’t find it on the Net.  Just pigs, which they’re not:

A drift, drove, sounder (of swine), team, passel (of hogs)


Have you ever said to your children, If you don’t do your chores, you won’t get your allowance?  Why don’t we not pay Congress until they pass a budget that the President can sign?  And that’s not holding back their salary so that they get it later.

Boehner said the House will move forward on its No Budget No Pay act, which directs both chambers of Congress to adopt a budget resolution for FY 2014 by April 15.

If either body fails to pass a budget, members of that body would have their paychecks put into an escrow account starting on April 16 until that body adopts a budget. But, because of the 27th Amendment, any pay that is withheld would eventually be released at the end of the current Congress, even if a budget doesn’t ever pass.1

We’re cutting the budget here.  Forget the escrow account.  If it takes them a month, then that $14,500 goes back to the government.  (Senators and Representative make $174,000 a year, except for the Speaker of the House – $223,500, House and Senate majority and minority leaders and President pro tempore of the Senate – $193,400 – and only have to pay $30 a month for their health insurance, which is better than mine, and I’ll bet better than yours.) With 100 Senators and 435 Representatives, after a month $7,757,500 would be saved.

I decided to write to my Senators.  Perhaps you should too.

We shouldn’t let the sequester hit in two weeks.  But if you let it, as the nondefense programs cuts will be 5.8%, take the same off the salaries of all Senators and Representatives (a cut of over $10K from you).  The $5.4M saved should keep almost 750 kids in Head Start.

The other choice is no pay at all, suggested by John Boehner: “Over the last four years, House Republicans have offered plans, our budget plans. We’ve done our budgets but it’s been nearly four years since the Senate has done a budget,” Boehner said. “Most Americans believe you don’t do your job you shouldn’t get paid. That’s the basis for No Budget, No Pay. It’s time for the Senate to act.”

Some of the sequester cuts don’t bother me as much as that to Head Start and schools:

About 70,000 children will lose access to Head Start, and 14,000 teachers and workers will be laid off, because of a $424 million cut. Parents of about 30,000 low-income children will lose child-care assistance. 2

I’m thinking of all of the parents of the 70,000 kids who won’t be going to Head Start.  What will the parents do?  They can’t afford day care.  Will a parent quit his or her job (no doubt her) to stay home with the child, further impoverishing the family?


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