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Noted and passed for Oct. 17, 2011
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• If you don’t think things change rapidly in the political world, you need look no further than Herman Cain, who was a mere blip on the Republican radar a few weeks ago and is now leading the polls. Only time will tell whether his star will fade, and there are many who criticize his “9-9-9” economic plan, advocating 9 percent income tax, 9 percent corporate tax and 9 percent sales tax. But one thing’s for sure: the U. S. tax code is so burdensome and unwieldy that it needs a complete revamping. We wish other candidates would give such a move more than lip service.

• Hmm-m-m-m, let’s see: a presidential candidate, a clergyman with a propensity to run his mouth  and a controversy. Seems like we’ve seen this picture before. Four years ago it was Barack Obama and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright; now it’s Rick Perry and the Rev. Robert Jeffress, who basically said Mormonism is a cult. Wright eventually faded into the background; we hope Jeffress will do the same.

• The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) engenders lots of complaints about its security procedures at airports, but it’s testing a program now that makes perfect sense: speeding pilots through security at special checkpoints, thus reducing lines for other passengers. There’s no reason why a pilot, with proper identification, should have to go through the same time-consuming searches as casual fliers. This makes perfect sense and we hope the program goes nationwide.

• Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and former U. S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia have been going at each other verbally over something or other. They represent opposite ends of the political spectrum, and it is their insistence on being hard left and hard right that is representative of the gridlock the country is now in.