August 2019


All of Them Witches

United States Senators were poleaxed to discover that other legislative bodies manage to enact budgets and avoid chronic deficits without dancing naked with Satan under the full moon. (Paywall warning.)

In Wyoming, the constitution mandates that the Legislature pass a balanced budget, (Republican state Sen. Eli) Bebout continued, recommending a similar rule be put in place in Congress. Once that balanced budget is in place, Bebout said, Wyoming lives "within those revenue streams."

He referred again to the Wyoming Constitution, which bars the state from incurring debt that exceeds 1 percent of the assessed value of the taxable property in the state.

That lack of debt made it difficult for Bebout to answer a question from Kaine about debt management policies in Wyoming.

"We don't have anything in place," Bebout said. "We don't have any debt."

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., spoke later, saying he was "still trying to get over the fact that Wyoming has no debt."

"I'm trying to get my mind around that," he said.

U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., also wanted to talk about debt in Wyoming: He asked Bebout about the state's capital construction fund, assuming that Wyoming's balanced budget amendment must not apply in that area.

Bebout clarified that Wyoming's budget includes capital expenditures.

"It's all one package based on our revenues," he said. "(The budgets) includes capital construction and capital spending."

"So the year-to-year spending on a particular building is right in the constitutional budget?" Whitehouse asked.

"Yes," Bebout replied, recalling the state's recently completed capitol renovation project that cost $300 million.

The idea behind the testimony in question was to help Congress find ways to get federal deficits and long-term debt under control. Wyoming’s senior U.S. Senator, Mike Enzi (R) invited Bebout — a longtime Wyoming lawmaker and a onetime GOP nominee for governor — to tell about how his state does it. You can almost see the other Senators’ jaws agape and their eyes bulging from their heads as they grapple with the alien ideas to which they were being exposed.

Enzi and others who spoke during the Senate hearing expressed a desire to see a biennial budget process applied at the federal level. The change would "give Congress more time (for) executive branch oversight and policy development and reduce the potential for government shutdowns," Enzi said.

Bebout spoke about Wyoming's two-year budget process during his testimony, offering support for the idea of a biennial federal budget that would provide more certainty for those impacted by government spending decisions.

He also suggested the federal government base more of its budget process on revenue predictions, like Wyoming does.

"The thing that really drives our budget is not what we want to spend but the revenues available to us," he said. "That's where we start ... rather than having the spending side of it drive it."

Senators Kennedy and Whitehouse were later seen piling cordwood for a bonfire, with a Bebout-sized stake on the top.

©   McGehee

And Now With Even Less Google Than the Last Time I Had Less Google

I recently discovered that I didn’t need to create a brand new Google account when I first wanted to get rid of the Gmail address attached to the old one. Or rather, I wouldn’t have needed to, if the option to detach the Gmail address from an existing Google account had always been available. I don’t think it always has been, but it sure is now.

I discovered this while in the process of disencumbering the old account — which had a Gmail address — of the last few remaining bits of non-transferable intellectual property (meaning ebooks) so that I could delete the account once and for all. I had already transferred everything from that account to my new, Gmail-free Google account that I could, and I had replaced the Google ebooks I had bought on it with Kindle versions so that if I ever lost my sanity and wanted to switch Google accounts yet again I wouldn’t need to worry about them.

In the course of doing some last housekeeping on the doomed old account, I followed a link and found that among the services associated with that account that could be deleted, was Gmail. All I needed to do was provide a non-Gmail address that wasn’t attached to another active Google account, and voilĂ ! — no more Gmail address.

I’m positive this wasn’t an option when I created my current account. If you know otherwise, don’t tell me.

As long as I’m using an Android phone, I’ll still need a Google account; and also as long as Mrs. McG depends on Google for her calendar. But I have found alternatives to almost everything I used to depend on Google for. I even found a contact manager that is as flexible as Google’s, something I had despaired of repeatedly over the last ten years or so.

I just wish being able to de-Googlify to this extent didn’t feel just a little bit... too easy.

©   McGehee



August 2019


Original content and design © 2019 Kevin McGehee. Images and excerpts are © their respective owners.