Why is my recycling bin so much smaller than my garbage bin? … and other burning questions

After Hillary Clinton’s epic slap-down of Fox News correspondent and part-time U.S. Senator Ron Johnson last week, I’m in a questioning mood. “What difference, at this point, does it make?” will not exactly go down in the annals with “Have you no sense of decency?” but it was fun to see Hillary whack this Tea Party buffoon upside the head with her presidential timber.

I’m starting to think the Benghazi thing is little more than the GOP’s desperate attempt to fluff up an Obama administration foreign policy scandal that might, in some conservative fairyland, morally equate with selling weapons to our mortal enemies and starting a war for no reason. If this is all they can come up with, though, they need to try a lot harder. Maybe they should ask why the Obama administration didn’t encase Osama bin Laden’s head in a giant beach ball and let the American people bounce it in the air from one end of the country to the other, despite numerous urgent memos from Ron Johnson suggesting that it do so.

Anyway, like Hillary, I have a lot of questions lately that I don’t expect good answers to – starting with my titular query:

Why is my recycling bin so much smaller than my garbage bin? This came up the other day during a casual water-cooler conversation with a co-worker. Madison is a progressive town, right? But it collects garbage once a week from a container that’s at least a third larger than the designated recycling container. Meanwhile, recycling is only picked up once every other week. My wife and I generate a lot more recycling than garbage. Even after being notified that spent truck batteries and recently deceased howler monkeys are not technically recyclable, we still can’t seem to get the bins to balance out. We want desperately to save the planet by buying lots of resource-intensive plastic stuff and then sticking it in a magical green guilt-absorbing bin, but the city of Madison is not adequately feeding into our smug urban fantasies.

When exactly did Republicans become concerned about the deficit? My guess: Jan. 20, 2009, sometime after breakfast and shortly before lunch. Hmm, what might have happened on that day?

Is there really no room for compromise on the mining bill? When it comes to the Gogebic Taconite mine in northern Wisconsin, can’t we all agree on the following? 1) It would be nice to have those jobs. 2) No one wants to trash northern Wisconsin, which is an indispensable source of jobs and revenue in and of itself. 3) Gogebic Taconite is kind of fun to say. It’s this last point that tilts my opinion ever so subtly toward support of the mine. Maybe I’m an idiot for still believing in compromise in this day and age, but can’t we at least take Sen. Tim Cullen’s proposal seriously? Can we finally get past the nonsense about Democrats only caring about spotted owls and snail darters and Republicans only caring about slathering spotted owls and snail darters head to toe in crude oil and iron ore tailings? It may be 100% true, but can we at least get past it?

Why is Paul Ryan being so blasé about the same cuts he said would “devastate” the economy? On Meet the Press on Sunday, Ryan said, “I think the sequester is going to happen because that $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, we can’t lose those spending cuts.” But as Think Progress points out, when Ryan was on the campaign trail, he described these same cuts as potentially “devastating.” So are we facing yet another game of fiscal chicken? The best way to attack the deficit is to grow the economy, of course. Holding the public over the ledge by our feet one more time certainly won’t help in that regard.


How many times a day does Russ Feingold vomit his left kidney knowing that Ron Johnson holds his Senate seat? It’s one thing to lose an election, but to lose to this guy? It’s like having your girlfriend break up with you and then spotting her on the street a week later as she waits in line to see Larry the Cable Guy and makes out with Ted Nugent. Not that I have any experience with anything remotely like that.

Did anyone else notice the eerie similarity between this Scott Walker quote
“Well, our goal is we think it’s reasonable to focus in on the surplus. The surplus is $342 million. And the taxpayers are obviously at the forefront of making that possible. So that’s certainly our focal point.”

… and this George W. Bush quote?
“I hope you will join me in standing firmly on the side of the people. You see, the growing surplus exists because taxes are too high and government is charging more than it needs. The people of America have been overcharged, and on their behalf, I am here asking for a refund.”

Why did it take this long for a U.S. president to name a former prosecutor as head of the SEC? Is it because Wall Street has been so fantastically good at policing itself the last eight decades?

Finally, and most importantly, when can I expect to see Mad Men Season 5 on Netflix streaming? After all, if I’m going to be forced to live in the past, I prefer to do it through the eyes of Don Draper, not the GOP.

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