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Dangling over the fiscal cliff
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Let me get this clear in my mind: we have avoided the fiscal cliff but not avoided the fiscal cliff because what was done prevents a supposed disaster but ultimately did not do enough and the danger is still with us.

Say: huh?

The analysis of worthiness of the particular last minute legislation depends largely upon who you wish to believe.

Technically, we did not drive over the fiscal cliff; the chauffeurs in charge just hung the front wheels over the abyss.

This means we are in line for several more months of grousing and blather from the chauffeurs.

These folks remind me of a drunken somnambulists wandering around a dark graveyard trying to read an inscription on a tombstone located in the graveyard across the street.

What ultimately passed in the dark hours was legislation not to the liking of either side, which is probably a good thing because no one got everything they wanted. This was, at least in some small way, a - dare we use the word - compromise. No doubt this will be short lived.

To use a sports analogy, watching Congress work is like watching a really bad bowl game that ends up having only one good play and you happen to be in the bathroom when it happens.

Then, in a grand display of friendly disagreement and honest debate, House Majority Leader Harry Reid called Speaker of the House John Boehner a dictator. This is interesting because just the other day Reid was complaining about a lack of leadership in the House of Representatives.

Say what you will about dictators, but they do usually demonstrate leadership, one way or another.

Reid is wrong about Boehner running the House like a dictator because a dictator rules with an iron fist and bends people to his will. Boehner has people in his part of Congress who are totally out of control and he could not handle them with a whip and a chair.

Boehner responded to this insult with the time honored retort calling for Reid to perform what is generally considered an anatomically impossible act upon himself.

Boehner's response was perfectly reasonable, although it's the kind of thing you normally hear on the golf course when you hand a guy a $5 bill after he cheers when you missed a three-foot putt.

What this all means, of course, is more weeks of blather and bluster, haranguing and whining, exaggeration and hyperbole. Unfortunately, we will not likely hear any honest debate with real facts that speak to anything other than a political position favored by one side or the other.

And whenever both sides start talking about what is good for the ordinary working slob, you better pull out your old copy of "Duck and Cover" because you can bet you are in the crosshairs.

But then, in what was a little noted piece of legislation, the House approved a move to rename the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force base in honor of Neil Armstrong.

Before he was an astronaut, Armstrong was one of many brave men who logged countless hours testing some of the most advanced and dangerous aircraft in the world, like the X-15 rocket plane. Their work paved the way for much of what became our space program. Hopefully the Senate will approve this highly appropriate name change.

But when it comes to Congress, they see little and understand less. A fiscal cliff is still out there.

At least Armstrong helped take us over the horizon.

Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at