Rich Galen

The Storm Drain Improvement Program costs $27 million according to Doyle's reporting. If the Fresno County Commissioners imposed an "Improve Our Storm Drains Tax" for just two years, it would cost each family about $40 per year.

Fresno County's storm drains would be improved and not one penny of my soon-to-increase federal income taxes would have been needed to do it.

I am only picking on Fresno because of Michael Doyle's excellent reporting. I am absolutely certain that the People's Republic of Old Town Alexandria, Virginia gets more than its fair share of federal funds for local projects if only because we can actually see the U.S. Capitol Building from our side of the Potomac River.

In fact, the Mighty Alexandria Times ran an article in November which covered the effects of the sequester. Among the items mentioned were federal funds for school building projects.

The Congressman from the People's Republic, Jim Moran (D-VA) was quoted as saying "schools should refrain from planning additional initiatives or major capital projects."

The reporter, Melissa Quinn, added,

"This is bad news for Alexandria City Public Schools, which is set to replace several aging buildings in the coming years."

Same argument. If Alexandria, Virginia needs to replace public school buildings there is no reason in the world for taxpayers in Savannah, Georgia or Lansing, Michigan to help pick up the tab.

I wrote an article that appeared in the yesterday on what Speaker John Boehner's options might be in the three weeks remaining of this calendar year.

I spoke to two former senior House staffers and one senior Member of the House. They all agreed that the Speaker doesn't have many cards in his hand before the clock runs out on 2012.

The only leverage the House Republicans have is the looming debt ceiling which will be reached sometime in mid-February.

Until that time, though, President Obama is in control of the debate and, as Speaker Newt Gingrich learned in 1996 during the shutdown fight with President Bill Clinton, the White House's megaphone is much louder than the one in the House of Representatives.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Fresno Bee and Alexandria Times articles as well as my Daily Beast piece.

Also a Mullfoto that made me shake my head.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at