Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader who isn’t much on having the Senate do actual work (no budgets, ceding most responsibilities to Executive overreach), seemed genuinely pissed off that he had to wake up for a few moments this week. Here is the video of his failed attempt to cajole Rand Paul into ending the filibuster so Reid could get home to his graham crackers and milk. Note how annoyed Reid gets when Paul objects.
Have a great weekend everyone!
President Obama’s advisers have telegraphed their goal to win control of the House in 2014, which would give the president unfettered control to advance his favored policies. But the bigger concern for the White House should be the more realistic possibility that they could lose the Senate in 2014 – an outcome that’s only enhanced by the president’s second-term strategy focusing on rallying the base over centrist governance.
It’s no coincidence that on Wednesday, in a welcome about-face, Obama belatedly engaged a charm offensive with Republicans, inviting leading senators to a private dinner and pow-wowing with Paul Ryan for lunch on Thursday to discuss the budget. This, from the president who predicted that he would be able to work with the GOP only after he won reelection, arguing their “fever may break” upon his victory.
All of this is a result of the Republicans (unexpectedly) scoring twin victories in the battle over the sequester, getting their cuts all while pressuring the president’s popularity downward. The White House overreached in parading Cabinet secretaries to exaggerate doom-and-gloom consequences. And the public is demonstrating its frustration, handing Obama new lows in his job-approval rating since the election.
This week’s Quinnipiac poll shows the president’s job-approval rating dropping to 45 percent, his lowest since winning a second term. More ominously, a record-high 46 percent of Americans said they are “very dissatisfied” with the direction of the country – an even higher number than the pollster found in the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis, when voters feared the economy was in free fall. All told, nearly three-quarters of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, a worrisome statistic for the party in power. The trend lines are similar from all the polls released in the last week.
That has necessitated a change in the strategy, or at least the bluster, from the White House. Put simply, a president with a middling job-approval rating, won’t be able to net 17 House seats – not when there are only 16 Republicans left in districts Obama carried. Remember: Democrats will also be on defense; the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee this week named 26 of the party’s own members who are vulnerable as part of its Frontline assistance program.
If Obama’s job-approval ratings remain below 50 percent in 2014, the chances increase that the Senate will be in play. Next year’s electorate could look more like 2010 than 2012 — the consequence of a boom-bust cycle, when the Democrats’ base turns out for Obama, but not for downballot Democrats. The president will be a valuable asset helping the party committees fundraise, but he won’t be welcome in most of the key Senate battlegrounds.
There was a lot of chatter about the Republicans taking the Senate in both 2010 and 2012 but I never thought either offered a realistic opportunity. Everything would have had to been run perfectly and we’re talking about the GOP here. 2014 does offer a very real chance, and not just if the president’s approval numbers remain low. At the moment, it appears that the Democrats are just banking on the Republicans blowing the opportunity rather rallying early to defend the host of Senate seats they have in play for 2014. We’ll know very soon if the GOP hierarchy really did learn any lessons from the humiliation of last year.
Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan on Friday for his first trip abroad as defense secretary, seeking to make his own assessment of America’s longest war as it enters its final stretch.
Hagel said he would meet U.S. commanders and troops, and hold talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whose recent orders to curtail U.S. military activity underscore an often tense relationship with the 66,000 American forces there.
Hagel praised the sacrifices of American troops in Afghanistan.
“As I begin my time as secretary of defense, I look forward to hearing from you, seeing this war from your vantage point and working to make sure you get what you need to finish the fight and come home safe,” he said.
Hagel said it was his first trip to Afghanistan since a mid-2008 visit with then-Senator Barack Obama during Obama’s campaign for the presidency. Obama, a Democrat, forged a close bond with Hagel, a Republican, and remarked later that summer that the two agreed on almost “every item” of foreign policy.
Fingers-crossed that he doesn’t get drunk and try to order bombers to Israel.
If you wonder why President Obama has changed course and is suddenly reaching out to Republicans in Congress, you need look no further than the recent wave of public-opinion surveys, which show his approval rating dropping precipitously, his reelection bump gone. Even though polls show the public is more likely to blame Congress for the obstruction that led to the sequester and the hardship it causes, that doesn’t mean Obama gets a free pass.
He’s not getting a free pass? That’s news to me. And I pay attention to a lot of news.
Just when it looks like someone from the Leftmedia might be taking a stab at questioning The Lightbringer, it vanishes as quickly as it seemed to appear. Within two paragraphs, Clift admits that there is nothing to lose for Obama to take this route.
In fact, it’s pretty easy to figure out why he’s doing it. He makes a rather meaningless gesture (everybody has dinner), then the next time there’s a good public scaring in order he can whine, “Hey, I tried.” The press, of course, will dutifully report that he facilitated the mother of all bipartisan outreach attempts, only to be rejected by the evil Republicans who want your puppies to be sequestered.
Update: … or is the bill really dead? The plot thickens as the Denver Post updates is original reporting, and says Sen. Heath might not have made up his mind… but his Democrat colleagues insist that no, his mind is indeed made up… but the Senate President says those guys are just peddling rumors:
The sponsor of a bill that would ban use of concealed weapons on college campuses said Friday he hasn’t made a decision whether to debate the bill, or just kill it.
Four Democratic lawmakers say Heath plans to set the bill aside.
“I haven’t made my decisions. I’m still working” on it it, said Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, the bill’s sponsor.
But Democrats insist to The Denver Post that Heath had agreed to kill his measure, but then later questioned whether he was doing the right thing.
Senate President John Morse said of those sources: “They were going off rumors.”
Here’s the money line from the Human Events post:
This simply is not the caliber of statesmanship I would expect from people who think women can’t be trusted with guns because they’re trigger-happy hysterics, and if you can’t beat a rapist with kung fu, there’s no point in trying to shoot him.
The handling of this proposed ban by several Colorado Democrats has been even more idiotic than the law itself. In a more sane world, Salazar & Company would have had their careers close to ruined by now by a more responsible pack of-ahem-journalists.
(h/t Ace of Spades HQ)
Well, at least Barack Obama and the Washington Post still like these two clueless idiots. And that’s all they really want.
— Katy (@KatyinIndy) March 7, 2013
Graham and McCain are why more people aren’t Republicans. They are killing the party. Pathetic.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) March 7, 2013
— Greg (@CajunConservatv) March 8, 2013
Former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 barring federal recognition of same-sex weddings, called on the Supreme Court on Thursday to overturn the law.
Just weeks before the court takes up a case challenging the law, Mr. Clinton said he had come to believe that the law is unconstitutional and contravenes the quintessential American values of “freedom, equality and justice above all.” In doing so, he joined President Obama in arguing that the law be overturned.
“As the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that DOMA is contrary to those principles and, in fact, incompatible with our Constitution,” Mr. Clinton wrote in an op-ed article posted on the Web site of The Washington Post on Thursday evening.
The former president’s argument reflected a broader shift in societal attitudes in the 17 years since the law was enacted. Mr. Clinton was never enthusiastic about the measure, but he was not on record supporting same-sex marriage at the time and, just weeks before his re-election, he felt he had no choice but to sign it. Still, to make the point that he considered it politically motivated, and to call as little attention to it as possible, he signed it after midnight.
In typical Clinton fashion, he goes on to blame the Republicans for something he did, saying that he was forced into it because some of the counter measures were “draconian” (yes, even Rhodes Scholars lack originality when beating dead horses).
But if there’s anything we’ve learned about this particular topic in recent months, it’s that “evolving” is all the rage. After all, in less than a year, President Obama has gone from opposed, to being a states’ rights guy to now favoring full-on federal intervention. At this rate, he may be in a gay marriage by Christmas.
“There is a prospect for a libertarian-right, progressive-left coalition on transparency issues,” said Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas.
Best known in foreign policy circles until now for being on the losing end of 90-to-1 Senate vote last year on Iran policy, Mr. Paul emerged as a voice of populists on the right who are concerned about what they see as an unchecked national security state that too often becomes overinvolved in the rest of the world.
While he has sought to distance himself somewhat from the explicitly isolationist and antiwar stances of his father, Mr. Paul still reflects deep suspicion among libertarians and Tea Party supporters about global entanglements. He has expressed skepticism about foreign aid and the need for overseas military bases, opposes American involvement in Syria and has sought more restrictions on the powers of presidents to wage war.
“There’s a healthy debate in the Republican caucus,” Mr. Paul said when asked about divisions in the party and criticism by Mr. McCain and Mr. Graham. “People are starting to understand that that just by calling someone an enemy combatant doesn’t make them an enemy combatant. Someone has to assess their guilt or innocence, and it’s a pretty important question.”
What was most galling about the petulant antics of McCain and Graham today was just how badly they don’t get any of it: the core issues, the impact it had and the role social media played in the filibuster’s popularity, the fact that it was a good day for Republicans and a host of other things. I disagree that the Republicans are headed towards a permanent minority, but I don’t think they’ll win much while the party is in the hands of dinosaurs like McCain and Graham. Sen. Paul even managed to completely overshadow The Lightbringer’s sham “reach out” dinner, which is really what got the John and Lindsey show going. Here was my tweet from this morning about it (I have no idea why it says 6:06 PM on the embedded tweet, my Twitter page shows the actual time, 10:06 AM):
McCain & Graham thrive on MSM attn when they play nice w/ Obama. Rand Paul stole their thunder last night. They’re acting out.
— SFK (@stephenkruiser) March 7, 2013
The U.S. seized a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden who once served as an al Qaeda spokesman and flew him to New York to face trial, an antiterrorism coup that casts light on the group’s murky relationship with Iran.
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who was captured in Jordan, has been talking to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents for several days in New York City, according to multiple people familiar with the case. He was captured after leaving Iran, which has sheltered remnants of the global terror group.
The Justice Department on Thursday unsealed an indictment charging Mr. Abu Ghaith with conspiring to kill Americans, and he is set to appear in federal court in Manhattan Friday morning. It was unclear Thursday if Mr. Abu Ghaith had a lawyer representing him.
The arrest has also reanimated the debate about whether terror suspects should be tried before civilian judges or military tribunals.
There is no official word yet on whether he is being waterboarded or forced to listen to John Kerry speeches as authorities try to extract information.
Also, Mr. President, can we stop pretending that Iran is ever going to play nice?
When the United Nations began renovating its Manhattan headquarters in 2009, one of the first casualties of the construction was the storied Delegate’s Lounge, where for decades the delicate work of diplomacy was aided by a good stiff drink.
The loss of the bar led to protest from diplomats and their staffs, and a temporary outpost was soon established.
That bar is also now gone, but the thirst for liquor at the United Nations is apparently still strong.
This week, an American diplomat offered what he called a “modest proposal” that he hoped would speed along the United Nations’ notoriously protracted budgetary proceedings. He asked delegates to put a cork in it.
“The negotiation rooms should in future be an inebriation-free zone,” the diplomat, Joseph M. Torsella, said.
So far, there seems little chance the suggestion will lead to any change in behavior.
Basically, we’re subsidizing a frat house filled with people who hate us. Kumbaya never sounds good when everyone is hammered.
For once, the use of the word “epic” is apropos. Here are a few gems but I less-than-humbly suggest you read my timeline from about the fourth hour on.
That was the most inspiring 12 hours and 54 minutes in US Politics that I can personally remember.Every.Single.Moment.#StandWithRand
— Michelle Ray (@GaltsGirl) March 7, 2013
Dick Durbin about to lob new hypothetical about using drones on DC kids using vouchers to escape rotten public schools #standwithrand
— nickgillespie (@nickgillespie) March 7, 2013
Sleep deprivation kicking in.Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are engaged in a knife fight in the hallway over the last Red Bull. #StandWithRand
— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) March 7, 2013
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) March 7, 2013
There are alternative policies. One is to cut government spending, or cut it more than you raise taxes. As Boskin points out, the Netherlands in the mid-1990s and Sweden in the mid-2000s “stabilized their budgets without recession (with) $5-$6 of actual spending cuts per dollar of tax hikes.”
And he notes that Canada reduced government spending in the mid-1990s and early 2000s by an amount equal to 8 percent of gross domestic product.
Those cuts weren’t painless, but they put Canada on a trajectory different from ours. Canadian voters value budget surpluses, and Canada managed to avoid almost all the bad effects of the 2007-09 recession.
Of course policies can’t be transported mechanically from one country to another. Circumstances and customs inevitably differ.
But a strong case can be made that our current policies threaten to make slow growth the new normal. And that would be profoundly painful in ways we are only beginning to imagine.
Republicans are being attacked as irresponsible for allowing the relatively small sequester cuts to occur. But maybe that was the responsible thing to do. Maybe it would be responsible to cut spending even more.
I wouldn’t use the qualifying “maybe” and would add entitlement reform and voting for politicians based on something other than empathy to the mix.
For more than half of an almost magical day, Sen. Rand Paul treated American political junkies to something we haven’t seen much of lately: senators doing senator stuff. Dripping with decorum, “Thank yous” and gentlemen from everywhere, we were treated to a drawn-out grand political spectacle the likes of which doesn’t happen much in the short attention span era.
Sen. Paul relentlessly made his case for civil liberties, receiving support from Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, as well Code Pink and the American Civil Liberties Union, two groups not known for cheer leading Tea Party politicians. From his own party, Paul was backed up by Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee (who did the heavy relief lifting to spell Paul), as well as host of others who showed up to lend support in the eleventh hour. Several members of the House were also seen milling about as the evening wore on. He even got a support tweet from Van Jones.
And all he wanted was some assurance from The Lightbringer that he wouldn’t get drone-happy with his own citizens. He didn’t get it.
The reason I linked to MSNBC at the top of the post was because they at least had some coverage. Here is a screenshot of CNN’s homepage a few minutes after the filibuster ended (click to enlarge):
The death of Hugo Chávez sent a ripple of sadness and uncertainty across this island on Wednesday as Cubans mourned the loss of an ideological son and generous ally, and worried about the economic pain that could lie ahead if the new Venezuelan leadership cut off hefty oil subsidies…
Even those who had little time for his brand of socialism wondered if Cuba would descend into an economic chasm, much as it did in the 1990s, after the Soviet Union collapsed.
Cuba receives more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day from Venezuela, purchased on favorable terms as part of an exchange that has tens of thousands of Cubans working in Venezuelan clinics, schools and ministries. The subsidized oil accounts for about two-thirds of Cuba’s consumption and is credited by many Cubans with keeping the lights on and the air-conditioners running during the brutal summer heat.
The same Cuba that American celebrities have been traveling to for decades and telling us back here is such a wonderfully functional communist haven is really a fragile failure that is only held together by the duct tape of more powerful tyrannical regimes. Tío Hugo will be sorely missed by the Castroites.
During a segment on the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center’s new study about an increase of anti-government hate groups, Matthews demanded which politicians they supported: “Who do they root for?! They don’t root for Rand Paul? Pat Buchanan? I mean who? They must like this new guy Ted Cruz. They must love Ted Cruz, c’mon!”
Matthews more than likely had to send his interns on multiple Xanax runs tonight because Paul and Cruz are getting such positive reviews for the work they’re doing during Sen. Paul’s filibuster (still going on as of this writing). He’s home now, clutching an Obama pillow and weeping.
And let us refresh our memories about the SPLC and “hate”.
Let’s hope the inhumane politics of Hugo Chavez go the way of this magnificent beast.
Mr. Obama nominated Gina McCarthy, an experienced clean air regulator, to run the Environmental Protection Agency, and Ernest Moniz, an M.I.T. physicist and strong advocate of natural gas and nuclear power, to run the Energy Department. Both believe global warming is one of humanity’s most pressing challenges. Both have deep experience — Ms. McCarthy as an assistant administrator at the E.P.A. and an adviser to Republican governors in Connecticut and Massachusetts, Mr. Moniz as an under secretary of energy in the Clinton administration.
Both will be required to use their regulatory authority creatively and aggressively. There is zero chance that Congress will enact the “bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change” that Mr. Obama called for in his State of the Union address. This means that his second-term agenda on climate change will run through Ms. McCarthy’s and Mr. Moniz’s agencies, and will depend almost entirely on executive actions that do not require Congressional approval.
This is the United States we live in: the thought of unchecked government agencies using powers “creatively and aggressively” is seen as a good thing by many. That’s formerly the stuff of dark, apocalyptic novels about the future.
Despite the fact that the green horses the president backed in his first term are still pulling up lame, the administration is going all-in for its unsustainable sustainable energy folly. Hide your wallets.
Four more years.
After years of ballooning budget deficits, California finally seemed on firmer footing. Unemployment remained high, but revenues and housing prices were up. Taxpayers even voted themselves a tax increase to bring deficits down.
And then came the automatic federal budget cuts known as sequestration.
As the $85 billion in spending cuts slowly roll out nationwide, California officials are girding themselves for a blow not only to the state’s large military industry but also to its nascent economic recovery. Still, experts say, it will most likely slow down, though not derail, the state’s economic growth.
Despite its recent malaise, California’s economy is still the ninth largest in the world. If the sequester is really going to impact it this much, perhaps the state might want to get back to the business of business, and not the business of government. It is difficult to imagine the Golden State of old experiencing even a moment’s panic in years past because of what economic havoc some temporary lull in gifts from the federal government would cause. But that was back in the day when all kinds of weird stuff was happening, like movies and television shows being made in Hollywood, for instance, and not Canada.
While perusing the financial news of the day I couldn’t help but notice the different tone in these two articles about it.
First, the New York Times:
The oldest and most popular gauge of the stock market on Tuesday surged past the nominal high it last reached more than five years ago, before the financial crisis hit with full force.
In the past, such a recovery would have led to celebrations on Wall Street and spread optimism about the economy. But the gain by the Dow Jones industrial average — the stocks of 30 American corporate giants like Coca-Cola, ExxonMobil and Microsoft — was a more downbeat event.
Wall Street executives were not dismissing the rally out of hand, but after several years of turbulence they were not cracking open the Champagne either.
Second, the Los Angeles Times:
The Dow Jones industrial average has barreled to an all-time high, erasing $11 trillion of losses racked up when the financial crisis began five years ago.
The stock market’s revival — with the Dow at a record 14,253.77 — has some respected minds on Wall Street suggesting the Dow will puncture 20,000 in just a few years. But, as investors may recall, the last few times the stock market seemed headed for records, disaster soon followed.
High-flying tech stocks led to highs in 2000 just before the bubble burst. The rally that ended in 2007 was followed by the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
So what’s different now?
Corporate America is raking in bigger profits, stock prices are relatively cheap, and the Federal Reserve’s easy-money policies have pushed interest rates to record lows.
Depending on which assessment you’re reading, it’s either “Wait! Wait! Wait!” or “Buy! Buy! Buy!”
Then again, the Los Angeles Times is operating with a skeleton crew and its piece may have been written by a drunk janitor.
U.S. job growth likely was moderate in February as higher taxes and fears of deep government spending cuts made employers cautious, suggesting there was still not enough momentum in the economy for the Federal Reserve to scale back its monetary support.
Employers are expected to have added 160,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, barely picking up from January’s 157,000 count, according to a Reuters survey of economists. That would just be enough to hold the jobless rate steady at 7.9 percent.
A 2 percent payroll tax cut ended and tax rates went up for wealthy Americans on January 1, hurting retail sales. In addition, $85 billion in federal budget cuts, known as the “sequester,” started taking hold on March 1, a prospect that may have weighed on hiring decisions.
That’s a precious bit there at the end: “Well, we know the taxes hurt but, HEY, maybe it’s the sequester’s fault!”
Four days in and we haven’t spun out of orbit yet. COULD IT BE THAT HE WAS MAKING ALL OF THAT UP?!?!?
Being fat sucks. Getting fat is awesome.
— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) March 5, 2013
DC hookers now offering the Sequester Special, where for an extra hundred bucks they’ll pretend like it hurts.
— Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit) March 4, 2013
Going to physically wear myself out so I don’t punch a bitch. Namaste. Or whatever.
— Chelsea (@chelseagrunwald) March 5, 2013
Newly proposed federal regulations aimed at the snack foods and drinks served in the nation’s schools could come with a hefty price tag.
The American Action Forum estimates the regulations, which include caps on serving sizes and calorie counts, will cost schools $127 million and require more than 926,000 hours of paperwork.
All of this just so the kids delay their first bag of Doritos for the day by a few hours. Once they realize the kids are still scarfing down the stuff at home, Michelle Obama will probably start scheduling personal finger-wagging visits.
Also, aren’t we forever being told that schools don’t have enough money to pay teachers well?
Janet Yellen, the Federal Reserve’s influential vice chair, said on Monday the central bank’s aggressive monetary stimulus is warranted given how far the economy was operating below its full potential.
Downplaying the potential costs of the Fed’s unconventional easing efforts, which currently include $85 billion in monthly asset purchases, Yellen highlighted the dangers of a prolonged period of economic malaise.
“Insufficiently forceful action to achieve our dual mandate also entails costs and risks,” Yellen told a conference sponsored by the National Association of Business Economists. “At present, I view the balance of risks still calling for highly accommodative monetary policy to support a stronger recovery and more rapid growth in employment.”
Yellen, seen as a potential successor to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who is expected to step down early next year, reiterated Fed officials’ intention to keep their foot on the accelerator even as the economy recovers.
“The large shortfall of employment relative to its maximum level has imposed huge burdens on all too many Americans and represents a substantial social cost,” she said. “Prolonged economic weakness could harm the economy’s productive potential for years to come.”
The U.S. economy stalled in the fourth quarter but is forecast to expand around 2 percent this year. At the same time, unemployment remains at an elevated 7.9 percent, and Yellen said Fed officials expect the rate to come down all too slowly to around 7 percent at the end of next year.
Each new round of Monopoly money from our economic betters at the Fed was supposed to act like a magic defibrillator on the economy yet there have barely been any changes in the vital signs. As for the “balance of risks” Yellen mentions, the only real evidence we’ve been given that such a balance exists is “Because we said so.” The most powerful voices at the Fed all seem to subscribe to the Paul Krugman School Of It’s Never Enough thinking which just makes me want to drink until I’m as inebriated as they sound all the time.
President Obama’s job approval rating took a hit over the weekend, falling to its lowest level in the Gallup three-day average since his reelection.
His approval rating was 46 percent between Feb 29 and March 2, down from 53 percent a week earlier.
The drop comes after Obama and Congress failed to reach a last-minute deal and automatic sequester cuts kicked in across the government on Friday.
His disapproval rating also jumped to its highest level since November, hitting 46 percent over the weekend, up from 40 percent a week earlier.
He’d been on a roll until the Sequester Scare Theater reviews came in over the weekend, answering the question we’ve all been waiting for GOP leadership to finally let be answered: What if they threw a crisis party and nobody came?
Fingers-crossed that Boehner and Co. have learned something from not going full jellyfish at the last minute this time…
Congressional Republicans announced a plan on Monday to avoid a government shutdown later this month, seeking to calm the waters after months of budget fights that ended in a failure last week to halt damaging spending cuts.
Just three days into the $85 billion of automatic “sequester” cuts, Republicans in the House of Representatives turned their attention to the next fiscal deadline: the March 27 expiration of funding for government agencies and programs.
Some of us joke about enjoying the prospect of a government shutdown and maybe we don’t really want the “Will return at…” sign posted but all any of the panicky, temporary measures do is give them more time to not work on a real, adult budget. The GOP is in a unique position here-leadership didn’t blink for once and The Idiot King’s two week shock and awe campaign of horror stories have thus far been exposed for the sham that they were. They could press that advantage for a day or two and point out that it might be time for Harry Reid to earn some of that salary that’s never threatened by any of this perma-crises.
Yes, we lost a great friend in Andrew Breitbart on my birthday last year. On the rare occasions we got to spend time together it was mostly goofy and we talked a lot about how much we LOVED the Internet for things like this.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Over the fierce protests of this city’s elected leaders, the State of Michigan plans to send an emergency manager to repair the deeply troubled finances of Detroit, one of the largest cities ever to reach such a dire point or to face such a level of oversight.
“There is probably no city that is more financially challenged in the entire United States,” Gov. Rick Snyder said on Friday as he explained why he had deemed Detroit’s woes too fundamental, too lasting and too large to be solved by the city itself.
Mr. Snyder’s call for an emergency manager, who would wield sweeping powers to reshape the city, underscored a long, troubling arc for Detroit. Once the cradle of the American auto industry and the nation’s fourth most populous city, it is now less than half the size it was decades ago and has a public sector plagued by more than $14 billion in long-term liabilities and annual worries of cash shortfalls.
The notion set off a flurry of pointed and sometimes emotional reactions here, including an unavoidable racial and political component. Detroit is a mostly black city dominated by Democrats in a mostly white state where Republicans, including Mr. Snyder, control the capital.
Sure, taking the knives away from the jittery drunk who has been self-inflicting wounds for decades is racist. The “dominated by Democrats” component is key here-they’ve been in bed with Big Labor and have destroyed a once-great city. They were probably just coasting along hoping for a federal bailout with less oversight. They certainly haven’t done anything to change their ways and get things in order on their own.
Republicans in Congress, however, have steadfastly opposed any additional revenue — through closing loopholes — to replace sequestration.
Their rigidity on the issue comes even as stagnant wage growth for the middle class and increasing incomes for the very wealthy have exacerbated America’s deepening income inequality.
If the November election provided a referendum on anything, it did so on the concept of a balanced approach to solving our nation’s deficit problems. The months since have only cemented that opinion. Some three-quarters of Americans told pollsters at the Pew Research Center last month that they believe we need a combination of both spending cuts and revenue to reduce the deficit.
Americans should not have to suffer because Republicans in Congress refuse to listen to them.
Translation: “I’m willing to compromise if they do exactly what I want them to do. If not, I’ll do nothing and get a free pass. Thanks, MSM!”
The State Department on Friday raised no major objections to the Keystone XL oil pipeline and said other options to get the oil from Canada to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries are worse for climate change.
But the latest environmental review stops short of recommending whether the project should be approved. State Department approval of the 1,700-mile (2,735-kilometer)pipeline is needed because it crosses a U.S. border.
Obama bowed to his green money buddies even when the jobs and his reelection were needed. What is his motivation for going against them now?
Here’s the email (click to enlarge):
Actually, the president himself has already begun dialing back the doomsday rhetoric a bit, but these idiots are lazy and don’t shake old narrative habits easily.
As for the “Republicans protecting the EVIL CORPORATE JETS” nonsense, they really need to do some homework.
Twitter is erupting with conservatives celebrating the arrival of Sequester Doomsday with a variety of hashtags tonight. This one was rather amusing.
I must now go fire some teachers…
#SequesterMovieLinesI eat breakfast 3000 yards from 200 democrats who want to sequester me.
— Return America (@ReturnAmerica2) March 1, 2013
Boehner is a pimp. He never could have outfought Reid. But I didn’t know until this day it was Obama all along. #SequesterMovieLines
— Stephen Green (@VodkaPundit) March 1, 2013
#SequesterMovieLines Frankly my Dodd, I don’t fund a dam…
— El SOOPer!! (@SooperMexican) March 1, 2013
The headline (nothing to do with sequestration, by the way):
This is a very good piece and I agree with four of the five. The only one I don’t is Number 3-I think “independent” voters are partisan and I’m basing that on many years of political involvement. There has been a distinct preference for one party over the other shown in the voting habits of virtually every “independent” I’ve encountered.
Number 1 was what kept me reading:
1) The electorate is not “polarizing.” It’s “sorting.”
An electorate is “polarized” if voters are increasingly drawn to extremes — the right getting more conservative, the left getting more liberal, and moderates dwindling. An electorate is “sorted” if voters are increasingly settled into ideological camps, that is, conservatives are almost all Republicans, liberals almost all Democrats.
Pundits talk all the time about “polarization,” but it’s not happening. As Fiorina points out, the percentage of Americans who call themselves “moderate” is the same as it was in the 1970s (the American National Election Studies survey has put it at between 20 and 30 percent since 1972). Nor are we more divided when it comes to issues. In the words of a 2012 Pew study, “The way that the public thinks about poverty, opportunity, business, unions, religion, civic duty, foreign affairs, and many other subjects is, to a large extent, the same today as in 1987. The values that unified Americans 25 years ago remain areas of consensus today, while the values that evenly divide the nation remain split.” The commonplace idea that Americans today are irrevocably divided into politically extreme camps just isn’t the case.
What has happened to the American electorate in recent decades is sorting. A few decades ago, there were thriving factions of conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans, among both voters and their elected representatives; that is to say, the parties themselves were internally diverse. Nowadays, however, ideological consistency is the rule. This is the real reason behind many phenomena commonly, and incorrectly, attributed to “polarization,” Fiorina points out, such as the massive decline in ticket-splitting. Today, voters are likely to find that all the candidates who agree with their views belong to the same party, whereas in the 1970s, many House and Senate candidates didn’t have much in common with their party’s presidential nominee. Sorting also accounts for voters’ increased party loyalty. They haven’t necessarily become more rigid — they’re just more likely to find all the candidates they support concentrated on one side of the aisle.
Of course, “sorting” doesn’t make for good cable news shouting matches, which in turn don’t make for very good political information.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano claimed Thursday that she had no part in her department’s decision to release low-risk illegal immigrant detainees as a way to deal with looming cuts to the department’s budget.
In an interview with ABC News, Napolitano claimed even she was surprised to learn about the release of the prisoners, which drew criticism from many Republican lawmakers.
“Detainee populations and how that is managed back and forth is really handled by career officials in the field,” she said.
Napolitano also conceded that the decision was poorly timed, saying she wishes people, herself included, weren’t caught by surprise by the announcement.
It should be more disturbing than it is to the American public that “I’m completely ignorant” has become an accepted and frequent excuse for the people running the country.
Public concern about environmental issues including climate change has slumped to a 20-year low since the financial crisis, a global study reveals.
Fewer people now consider issues such as CO2 emissions, air and water pollution, animal species loss, and water shortages to be “very serious” than at any time in the last two decades, according to the poll of 22,812 people in 22 countries including Britain and the US.
Despite years of studies showing the impact of global warming on the planet, only 49 per cent of people now consider climate change a very serious issue – far fewer than at the beginning of the worldwide financial crisis in 2009.
Perhaps it’s because so many of the people behind the studies have been exposed to be hype-masters in recent years. Or maybe because the six zillion devastating hurricanes that we were told would ABSOLUTELY HAPPEN every year after Katrina never did. What they’re really upset about is that the very people they’ve been preying upon for so many years have noticed a complete absence of polar bears floating by their front doors and aren’t throwing themselves into fits of hysteria on command anymore. Unlike the snake-oil salesman of old, they can’t just pick up and move to a new town to find a new collection of rubes.
It’s always refreshing to read the take of foreign journalists, who aren’t collared and leashed by this White House. Writes Neil Gardiner:
The threats being dished out to Woodward, Davis and others are extremely disturbing in a free society, and are a reflection of an imperial presidency that acts with impunity and is highly intolerant of dissent. The heavy-arm tactics that Obama’s team have deployed for years against conservatives are now being increasingly implemented as well against liberals questioning the president’s record.
Leading US political analyst Michael Barone predicted all this in a piece for National Review Online back in October 2008, when he wrote about “The Coming Obama Thugocracy.” It is an article that is strikingly accurate in its predictions.
President Obama is driven by the fear of being exposed for the petulant, small man that he really is. He strikes me as the kind of guy who spends hours a day poring over any and all hype about him to make a list of who is and isn’t staying in line. If he were a community theater actor, he’d be the dude who wrote letters (Google it) to every neighborhood weekly that gave him a bad review.
And in a sane world, he would be getting nothing but bad reviews.