Ups and Downs of the Week

Three-Day Weekends – I know we just came off the Christmas break, but I really need this long weekend.

Flooding in Australia – Yikes! Talk about serious flooding. Over 3/4 of the state of Queensland (700,000+ sq mi) is flooded. That’s an incredible amount of water.  (As an aside, I love the guy setting his axle locks for four-wheel drive while wrestling with an umbrella. I mean, does it really matter if you get a little wet?)

Tax Hike – Illinois *finally* joined the rest of the US and upped its income tax to a level that might just sustain the government. They failed to raise the tax on cigarettes, though. They also failed to pass legislation to borrow money to pay their immediate debt needs, but that was a two-edged sword to begin with. Maybe not increasing the state’s debt will be a good thing.

Red Sox – I’m so looking forward to this coming season. Papelbon and Ellsbury both went to arbitration today. I think they’re very attractive lures if the right fish comes along. If they stay, all is good. If they get traded for more big-name talent, all is good. Classic win/win.

Arizona Shootings – So many sad stories here. This is what happens when a person with a severe mental illness can walk into a Walmart and buy a gun. I’m ok with 2nd Amendment rights, but let’s at least start doing *real* background checks before we hand out deadly weapons. And what’s with newly elected Senator from Illinois Mark Kirk calling for the death penalty for the shooter? What part of “mentally ill” is beyond his comprehension?  This was a tragedy in every sense of the word, but this Loughner guy is clearly a very sick person. Many people out there knew he needed help but did little. So now we just execute him? Think again, Senator Kirk.

Gabby Giffords – Talk about a combination of strength and luck. One in a million people could survive being shot in the head. But to survive a through-and-through head shot and be sitting up communicating with family in a week? Un-be-lievable. This woman will be back in Congress soon. Maybe her suffering will open some eyes and bring a little decency to the floor. Maybe.