Basketball & Budgets

March 22, 2013 - 4:03 AM

Let's see. How can I make a discussion of budgets interesting. Or, at least, not deadly dull?

Answer: I can't. No one can.

Nevertheless the House passed the Ryan budget this week and sent it off to the Senate where it had the same chance of success as Liberty University had in the NCAA Tournament.

SIDEBAR

Liberty, the religious college in Lynchburg, Virginia got into the NCAA tournament, March Madness, the Big Dance, by dint of winning the Big South conference tournament last weekend in spite of its 15-20 won/lost record. The Big South is one of the conferences whose champion gets an automatic bid to the NCAA.

Where the tournament committee places you is something else again.

The NCAA field used to be 64 teams (64 first round teams lead to 32 teams in the second round,. That leaves the Sweet 16 after the first week then the Elite 8 after the next set of games. The big dance of the Big Dance is getting to the Final Four and the National Semi-Finals. Two teams make the Final game and one emerges national champion.

But, the NCAA found there was still more money to be wrung out of these "student athletes" so a few years ago it decided to allow two teams - the 64th and 65th best teams - to play one game to see which would join the 64-team field.

Then, because someone saw a shiny quarter lying on the ground, the 65-team field was expanded again by having eight teams play for the last four spots. These games are called the "First Four" as opposed to the "Final Four." Both are registered trade marks of the NCAA.

Anyway, Liberty University had to play in one of the First Four games and, because of a missed shot at the buzzer, lost to North Carolina A&T 73-72.

No shame in that.

END SIDEBAR

All that to tell you that I Tweeted "I had Liberty going all the way [on my NCAA bracket], so I'm out" to the guffaws of my dozens of followers.

The vote in the House on the Ryan budget was 221-207 which USA Today decided was a "narrow" victory. The budget now goes over to the Senate which hasn't passed a budget since Harold Stassen was a heavy hitter in U.S. politics.

The Senate, according to the same paper will vote on its own version of a budget "then adjourn for a two-week spring recess."

Just thinking about their having worked for nearly three weeks in a row without a single week off makes me need a nap.

The good news is both Chambers essentially did what I had predicted a couple of weeks ago. The House and Senate agreed on what is known as a "Continuing Resolution" funding the government from now until the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

They had to do that a whole week in advance of the March 27 deadline. Why? In order to play the "Here Comes the End of the World" game again, they would have had to stay in session next week and, well, it's time for a vacation, so...?

Note that the House Democrats presented no alternative to the Ryan budget; they just all voted against it. Nor has the President presented his annual budget which is now nearly two months overdue.

As someone pointed out, President Obama had time to fill out his NCAA bracket, but not enough time to send a budget up to the Hill.

I know the President is in the Middle East, but it is too fluid to figure out what he's trying to do there - other than, quite literally, show the flag, so I'll let it marinate for a couple of days and then I'll declare his trip an abject failure. #satire

On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the Liberty University story and the Ryan budget coverage. Also a Mullfoto of one of those sidewalk signs outside a Washington, DC restaurant.