More Dogs on Main |

More Dogs on Main

Tom Clyde, Park Record columnist

Vice President Biden passed through our fair city this week, pausing long enough to kneel before the local 1 percent to beg for campaign money. There was no reason to mingle with the rest of us. This was purely take-the-money-and-run.

Mitt Romney had a similar event at Deer Valley a while ago, though on an even grander scale. Mitt’s affair was attended by all kinds of national GOP 1 percent-ers, including people who run the big-money super PACS that are, by law, prohibited from coordinating their activities with the candidate. So I’m sure that there was no coordination going on as the campaign and the super PACs spent the weekend together.

I was not invited to either function because I’m not in a position to donate a year’s income to either candidate. But I don’t like either one of them enough to donate dime toward their election. I’ll vote in November, but it’s the local elections that will draw me to the polls. The federal government has become so paralyzed as to be almost irrelevant.

Meanwhile, the House has now taken its 31st vote to repeal the health-care reform act. Repeal would mean that insurance companies could once again refuse coverage based on pre-existing conditions, seniors on Medicare would face higher prescription drug costs, the lifetime cap on health insurance benefits would come back, and your unemployed 26-year-old would get booted off your policy. All of those things are very popular with the public, but the House will vote to throw us back on the tender mercies of the insurance cartel.

The repeal measure will never be voted on in the Senate, and would certainly be vetoed by the president if it somehow passed. So why are they spending time on it? What are they accomplishing? Well, every day they spend on meaningless, symbolic debates on pointless legislation is one more day they don’t spend on jobs, the economy, or winding up our longest war. Congress shows up for work three days a week (when members aren’t on vacation to raise money) and works very hard to accomplish nothing. Five hundred and thirty five of them, plus a staff of a couple of thousand, grind away day after day, making sure nothing gets done.

On December 31st, the Bush tax cuts expire. That means that all of us, the millionaires and the waitresses alike, will see our income taxes go up. At the same time, they created their own budget "fix" that imposes sharp spending cuts that nobody really wanted. With the economy as sick as it still is, the combination of reduced federal spending and reduced individual spending because of the tax increases just about guarantees another downturn. So what is Congress doing about it? Nothing. Members are going on vacation to campaign for re-election. This is a crisis of their own making, and they are running away from it.

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On more pleasant fronts, life with the new puppy has been surprisingly easy. Aside from the first couple of nights, when I was trying to house-train him, there have been no problems. Once I decided that he was just too young for crate training and gave up, he house-trained himself.

It’s fascinating to watch him learn. There were a couple of evenings filled with menacing growls when he discovered his own reflection in the glass door. After a couple of nights, he seems to have figured it out, and the reflection no longer bothers him.

He’s learned all about squirrels this week, starting with a pair of them that sat on a branch just out of range and taunted him for hours. He knows which trees they are in, and almost by appointment, they meet up and the squirrels chatter and the puppy runs circles around the tree for a while. There was a dead trophy squirrel elegantly presented on the rug in front of the patio door this morning.

The dogs hang out on a second-floor deck where they have a good view of their domain. The front door of the house is underneath on one side of the deck, and the stairs down are on the opposite side. For a while, the puppy couldn’t figure out how to get to me if I walked out the front door and he was upstairs. He’s now got it, and knows that he needs to go south to the stairs before going north for the walk.

Each day is filled with new discoveries, from butterflies to horses, to learning that he can chew on the other dog but not on people. It’s really amazing to watch him figure it all out, and how much he is learning from the other dog.

He spends a lot of time chasing his tail. He could be a member of Congress.

Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column since 1986.