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Funding for government lapses as short-term spending bill stalls in the Senate

Life is hard, then you die

My daughter, Becky, startled me with a bit of uncharacteristic fatalism when she summed up the human condition with the expression "life is hard, then you die." For a gal who has conquered many a personal challenge, the expression was out of character, given her buoyant battle against life's adversities.

At first, I thought the summation was a little on the dark side. Upon reflection, however, my opinion is changing as I see the hard situations confronting some folks in these troublesome times.

For example, President Obama is finding life hard as he searches for cabinet appointees who have paid their taxes. It's OK not to pay taxes in the Cayman Islands but not so in New Mexico, South Dakota or New York. Apparently, some folks haven't found their loopholes.

It leads the rest of us to suspect that there must be a lot of unpaid taxes out there. In Georgia alone, it was discovered recently that 19 legislators had not paid income taxes. Maybe the stimulus program could be funded if we just recovered all of the unpaid taxes from public officials and aspiring federal appointees.

Illinois is finding life hard as it tries to locate a United State senator in a state that doesn't have a politician qualified for the job. Those that are adept and smart are in prison. (If you are interested in the job, be sure to enclose a check with your application). If Diogenes appeared on Michigan Avenue looking for an honest man, someone would steal his lantern. Illinois politics has set the theory of evolution back several centuries.

Outdoor lovers around Devils Lake are finding life hard as they try to locate a dry spot for a lakeshore cabin. With the unruly lake deciding its own jurisdiction every spring, it's hard to know whether a cabin should be put on concrete, wheels or pontoons.

The University of North Dakota is finding life hard as it tries to find a replacement for the Fighting Sioux logo. Every good macho nickname has already been taken. When the only possibilities left are the Horrible Huns, Plains Peons or NoDak Nukes, there is need for delay.

In Bismarck, legislators are finding life hard as they try to think through the 1,000 proposals that have been put on their plates this session. Legislatures are expected to be deliberative bodies, but there can be little deliberation over such a wide array of topics during the four-month dash in the biennial Bismarck marathon. Deliberation gets short shrift as good bills are killed and bad bills are passed. In the rush, they become indistinguishable.

Life is going to be hard for a lot of us if the stock market doesn't turn around soon. More than a few folks will be agreeing with Becky that life is hard and then we will die. We are all hoping that Bernie Madoff, perpetrator of the $40 billion investment scam, will be among us.