Hooray for Wayne Goode: Experienced legislator will review state budget in Jay Nixon's administration

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I applaud the selection of former Missouri legislator Wayne Goode to review the Missouri budget as announced last week by governor-elect Jay Nixon. I served with Goode years ago on the House Conference Appropriations Committee, which he chaired. He's intelligent and honest and deals with issues straightforwardly as some elected officials do not.

Goode spent 42 years in the legislature, serving on committees in both the House and Senate.

Next year's Missouri budget is critical in today's economic climate.

Some charts in the Nov. 9 issue of the New York Times were enlightening as to the nature of the urban/rural vote split.

In localities with a population more than 500,000, Barack Obama won 70 percent to John McCain's 28 percent. In population areas from 50,000 to 500,000, Obama won 59 percent to 39 percent, while McCain in population localities of 10,000 to 50,000 won by 53 percent to 45 percent and in rural areas 53 percent to 45 percent.

Almost all of the cities with populations over 500,000 have Democratic mayors and lead in welfare, homeless, school dropouts and crime, but that's where the votes are.

Ageless wit and observations: I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.

-- Winston Churchill

A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

-- George Bernard Shaw

Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

-- Ronald Reagan (1986)

If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when its free!

-- P.J. O'Rourke

In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.

-- Voltaire (1764)

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.

-- Winston Churchill

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.

-- Mark Twain

A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have.

-- Thomas Jefferson

The M&M walk: Background: Many people complain that despite walking they are not losing weight. This complaint often comes in a tone reflecting a distrust or loss of faith in walking. Yet when these same walkers are questioned about their dietary habits, they realize how easily miles of walking can be negated by overconsumption -- especially overeating high-fat, sugary, junk foods. This whole "calorie in-calorie out" energy balance is dramatically brought to light in one symbolic sentence:

"M&M's are really football fields."

What does this mean? When you eat one little M&M, it takes one football field of walking to burn off the calories in that one sugar-coated, fat-filled M&M candy. One peanut M&M is two football fields. So is one potato chip. Yet you don't think twice before munching down the whole bag (200 chips equals 400 football fields). By the way, a 12-ounce can of cola is 28 football fields. A greasy cheeseburger is 110 football fields. The super-sized burger, fries and shake are 400 football fields.

The workout: Bring a regular-size bag of M&Ms (containing 53 M&Ms) to your local high school football field. Stand deep in the end zone, directly under the goal post. Now focus on the goal post at the opposite end of the field. By the way, its 120 yards from where you are standing. Next tear open your fresh little brown bag of M&Ms. Take one from the bag, and put it in your mouth. Enjoy your sugar-coated treat, because now it's time to walk off your little M&M. Walk directly across the football field toward the opposite goal post holding the bag of M&Ms in your hand. On reaching the other end of the field, congratulate yourself on your first M&M walk. But the fun doesn't end here. Remove a second M&M from the bag -- and if you're willing to walk back across the football field -- enjoy that second M&M and start walking.

M&M footnote: For those of you who feel guilty about eating the M&M first and then walking it off, you can reverse the sequence by walking the football field first and then eating your M&M as a reward.

Keep repeating the sequence with M&Ms 3, 4, 5 and so on until you feel like quitting. Whether you last through eight M&Ms or 38 does not matter, as long as you follow the rules. On terminating this game, walk your little M&M bag over to a garbage can and gratefully trash it. You have officially finished your M&M walk.

Benefits: For those of you who are so impressed with the fact that it takes one football field of walking to burn off an M&M candy, you have no idea how much more you'll be impressed after finishing the M&M walk on a real football field.

One last note: Two little M&Ms a day add approximately 10 empty calories to your body daily. That's 365 times 10, or 3,650 extra calories of sugar and fat per year. This, by the way, is one extra pound of fat on your body come year's end. Get the picture?

-- From the "Walking Off Weight Workbook" by Robert Sweetgall, Roba Whiteley and Robert Neeves.

President Bush isn't the only unpopular president who'll leave office next year. Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on his way out too. He's lost the support not only of the lower classes that helped elect him to improve their living conditions, but also of the country's elites ... clerics, businessmen and the Revolutionary Guard.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei will force his rival into early retirement, deciding Ahmadinejad has become a threat to the regime rather than an asset. Khamenei will seek a more biddable successor for the presidency ... a pragmatist who will present a more stable, positive face to the world than Ahmadinejad has.

That will lift odds of a breakthrough in talks about Iran's nuclear program. Removing a major irritant will help, though Khamenei won't quit being anti-American.

Plus Barack Obama may be more willing than Bush to offer Tehran the recognition it wants. -- Newsletter

Gary Rust is chairman of Rust Communications.

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