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One billion dollars — like scoot through a goose

I am married to the sweetest woman on God’s green earth. She’s a sweet spirit who would never hurt a fly, always concerned about others first, and very few people in this world have ever seen her mad. Whatever rough edges I have — and there are quite a few — she more than compensates for.

But I have found her Achilles heel, the thing that moves her to irritation at near warp speed. So much so, that I can tell by the pace of her footsteps coming down the hall when her nemesis is present. “Pray tell,” you ask, “what could generate such proclivity to consternation?”

Geese!

A few years ago we moved to a house on a quiet, year-round slough just off the main channel of a river, and apparently, Canadian Geese love our area. I thought they were migratory, but no! Scores of them are homesteading on the banks of the Coosa River and the small lakes that dot our area.

We originally thought them to be quaint and endearing. That sentiment wore off quickly.

Geese are loud, obnoxious, and just generally nasty creatures. Water buzzards, in my estimation. They are incredibly loud — like that unruly family which takes up multiple tables in the restaurant, shouting and carrying on like no one else is present.

More than that, geese are territorial and don’t mind fighting with anything, or anyone for that matter. They’ll spread out those wings, raise that neck and make noise like the air horn on a Mack Truck!

I always know that if I come home at the end of the day and find pots and pans and big metal spoons by the back door that my sweet wife has been out in the yard banging those metal pots to get water buzzards out of the yard.

You may be wondering, “What’s the big deal … they squawk, so what?” Well, that ain’t even the half of it. These are some nasty creatures! Have you ever seen goose poo? I mean, wow! The average goose drops poo the size of a dog and upwards of 100 times a day! One hundred times a day! Studies — undoubtedly funded with taxpayer dollars — indicate that the average goose drops two pounds of goose poo daily, made worse because they travel in flocks, herds, gaggles! I once looked out my back door and counted no less than 60 geese in my backyard at one time … 60! Imagine that as 6,000 goose poops ... in one day!

Canadian Geese graze nonstop and whatever goes in one end comes out the other in record time. There’s an old saying that if something bad happened way too fast it “moved like scoot through a goose.” Yep, scoot through a goose ain’t good, and it happens at warp speed.

Now that I’ve given you that amazingly awkward visual image, let me just say that what happened in Alabama’s legislature this past week was disheartening. It was not deliberative. The House and Senate leadership took a billion-dollar spending bill, pushing that sucker through the legislative process like scoot through a goose!

I’m sure they will say it went through the committee process. Did it? Did it really? Multiple legislators have said they never saw the bill until the special session was called. No public hearings, and little effort at amendment on a billion-dollar spending bill? A billion dollars should not be spent without clear and open deliberation.

Word is that “a deal with the governor was going to be honored and everyone had to get on board.” How about a deal with the people of Alabama?

Only three members of each body dissented. Only five members of the legislature said, “Hold on,” but they were run over, and a billion dollars flew to the governor for signature like scoot through a goose.

Some aspects of that spending bill were positive, but others were not. The truth is, the money had to be appropriated. This was a required “spend,” if you will, but the way it was done is as concerning as what the funds were appropriated for.

The governor’s staff wrote the bill and, from all accounts, the legislature gave her the checkbook. The legislature is a co-equal branch of government imbued with the power of the purse. As the head of the executive branch, all the governor can do is ask but not task.

But not last week. With nary a flicker of dismay or recognition, the governor’s billion-dollar plan flashed through the Alabama legislature like scoot through a goose.

If Alabama legislators don’t take a stand on setting true conservative policy and deliberatively forwarding their own agendas, then it might be a very long four years, for the executive branch could take this special session spending bill as a signal that the legislature is in the governor’s pocket.

Spending a billion dollars should not be a quick and non-debated matter. A billion extra dollars lying around should always be a serious and well-informed debate. But that is not what we saw last week. That billion dollars just blew out the backside of Alabama’s statehouse like scoot through a goose.

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