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Live long and prosper

Bill Ritter's daily take on the news.
March 1, 2013 1:33:34 PM PST
In my dream I see a country where there's a big safety net for those who need it - no one needs to worry about having their basic and minimum food, housing and health care taken care of - and there's also incentive for people to get ahead.

The safety net, at least in my dream, doesn't encourage people to lounge on that net, but instead encourages them to rise above it. The incentives to work hard and be productive and be fulfilled would always trump any desire to be dependent on society for support and welfare. And that safety net would be viewed for what it is - a safety net, not a way of life.

In exchange, we'd get a government that meets people's needs, protects its borders and interests, and helps other people around the world - because we're all very lucky to live in this country, and the more people who can work hard and be productive and be fulfilled the better.

Yes, yes, yes, I know what you're saying - this guy is livin' the pipe dream. But it's really not that unrealistic in theory. It may be in practice, though. We have become so filled with vitriol and rancor and hatred, that I think we've lost our way when it comes to getting things done.

Listen to these peeps in Washington rant and rave and offer what they think is their staked-out positions, and it's no wonder most Americans have little faith in lawmakers. They may have degrees, but they don't sound very educated. Certainly sometimes not very smart.

It's easy to say it's time to stop all this non-productive nonsense. It's harder to do it. But that's what we need, is for them to stop it.

I know of few people with money who mind paying more in taxes if the tax hikes are fair and involve everyone who can afford them, and are accompanied by efforts to reduce wasteful spending and start to wean people away from depending on the government and others to live - if they're able to.

Why no one in Washington is arguing that is beyond many Americans these days. It's more than just sad. It's a terrible situation. And we're seeing the latest incarnation of the stalemate with the current sequestration, which will make itself felt starting today, as the $85 billion in mandatory spending cuts commence.

Will the sky fall? No. Will there be pain? Alas. And it's unfortunate, because the cuts aren't necessarily the smartest. So who will be affected? There are warnings tonight that we'll all feel something, including anyone who flies, in the form of delays at the airports. And federal officials also admitting today they've already released at least 2,000 illegal immigrants from detention centers, in anticipation of the cutbacks. We'll have the latest on the latest fiscal crisis and the fallout, tonight at 11.

One other sidebar about the sequestration - and it comes courtesy Pres. Obama. In explaining how some people are frustrated that the nation's leaders aren't fashioning a smart compromise. There are people, said Mr. Obama, who have suggested, "...I should someone, you know, do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what's right."

Oh no he didn't. The President mixing his sci-fi classics. The Jedi are from Star Wars; the mind meld is from Star Trek. Late this afternoon the folks who own Star Wars - LucasFilm (which is now a subsidiary of our parent, The Walt Disney Company) - said that the President, was "probably inadvertently - right." There is such a thing, they said, as a Jedi battle meld. Okay.

Then, Leonard Nimoy, the actor and the only man who knows about the Vulcan mind meld from Star Trek, the man who played the Mr. Spock, tweeted, "only a Vulcan mind meld will help with this Congress. LLAP."

LLAP? Live long and prosper - of course! A Vulcan's split-fingered salutation. Is this a great country or what? I'm just sayin'.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Meteorologist Lee Goldberg's weekend AccuWeather forecast, and Laura Behnke (in for Rob Powers) with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa and me, tonight at 11, right after 20/20.

BILL RITTER

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