Archive for National
Go figure. The federal budget deficit is not “the economic equivalent of a giant meteor hurtling toward America, about to hit any day,” says the Los Angeles Times.
“… the fight over deficits and spending has become a surrogate for battles over basic political and ideological disagreements over the role of government and, behind the scenes, over how the economic pie should be divided.”
Wow. It took how long to figure that out?
Whenever NC Gov. Pat McCrory’s predecessor, Democrat Beverly Perdue put her foot in her mouth, Republicans were gleeful. Now that the shoe is in the other mouth, so to speak, they might advise the Republican governor to avoid conservative talk radio shows. On the Tuesday edition of former Reagan education secretary Bill Bennett’s radio show, McCrory opened his mouth and promptly inserted his wingtip.
RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday he’s determined to get North Carolina’s public university system to focus on teaching what’s useful in terms of getting a job and criticized an “educational elite” for offering courses in subjects such as gender studies that don’t lead students onto clear career paths…
“I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs,” McCrory said on Bennett’s program.
“I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job,” McCrory told Bennett. “Right now, I’m looking for engineers. I’m looking for technicians. I’m looking for mechanics.” McCrory himself was a political science and education major, while Bennett holds a Ph.D. in philosophy.
It’s possible (though rare) for a candidate to become president of the United States without winning the popular vote. Americans complain that it is a bug in the Electoral College system.
Republicans wants to turn that bug into a feature.
At The Atlantic, David Graham suggests:
Let’s play a game. Let’s say, hypothetically, that your party has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. Even worse, long-term demographic trends suggest that your chances are only going to get worse. What do you do?
One option might be to revamp your policy proposals, improve the technical operational side of your party, and think about ways to improve your candidate pool.
Or you could try to find ways to make sure fewer people’s votes matter.
Care to guess what Republicans chose? Here’s the plan.
I really didn’t follow the career of Aaron Swartz, but his apparent suicide made news and brought details to light that had fallen down my memory hole (if they were ever in memory). Including his passion for making public information public … and accessible. That got him in trouble with the law in 2011. The New York Times explains:
In an effort to provide free public access to JSTOR, he broke into computer networks at M.I.T. by means that included gaining entry to a utility closet on campus and leaving a laptop that signed into the university network under a false account, federal officials said.
Mr. Swartz turned over his hard drives with 4.8 million documents, and JSTOR declined to pursue the case. But Carmen M. Ortiz, a United States attorney, pressed on, saying that “stealing is stealing, whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars.”
Except stealing isn’t stealing in this country. And torture isn’t torture. That is, if you’re powerful enough to be above the law, as Swartz clearly was not. The same U.S. Department of Justice Ms. Ortiz works for has decided that if criminals are well-connected and powerful, bank fraud, massive fraud, shift the Earth on its axis fraud is not something this country prosecutes. Instead it negotiates. It holds meetings, like this recent one.
In case you were wondering:
Remember the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) panel charged with holding down Medicare costs, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)? House Republicans, the ones with their hair on fire about deficits and runaway Medicare costs — “Not only are they unwilling to propose actual, concrete cost-cutting measures for Medicare,” says Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, but they are determined to keep the IPAB from holding down those runaway costs. Via The Hill:
House Republicans signaled Thursday they will not follow rules in President Obama’s healthcare law that were designed to speed Medicare cuts through Congress.
The House is set to vote Thursday afternoon on rules for the 113th Congress. The rules package says the House won’t comply with fast-track procedures for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) — a controversial cost-cutting board Republicans have long resisted.
The Campaign for Southern Equality has begun Stage 4 of the WE DO campaign in the pursuit of full federal equality for LGBT Americans. They will be leading actions in seven states between now and January 17th – Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia – and Washington, D.C. Read more about WE DO here after you watch this video.
It’s time we all stood up and demanded equality for one another. Thank you CSE, and thanks to all the brave couples who are putting themselves on the line in the hopes they will be recognized as fully equal human beings.
You may have heard Councilman Bothwell’s pronouncement on New Years’ Day, but in case you didn’t:
City officials will consider whether a ban on firearms on city property could bar gun shows like one planned at the WNC Agricultural Center this weekend.
Councilman Cecil Bothwell made the call Tuesday for enforcement of the gun ordinance in the wake a shooting that killed 26 people at a Connecticut school.
Asheville for years has had an ordinance prohibiting the possession of firearms on city-owned property, while gun shows have regularly been held at the city-owned Agricultural Center on Airport Road and U.S. Cellular Center downtown.
“I don’t understand why that law is not being enforced,” Bothwell said.
This conversation comes just after the city government announced that we’ll be installing a metal detector and other security protocols at Asheville City Hall, a decision that was made in advance of the Sandy Hook Massacre but which is indicative of a shift to defend innocent people from the growing specter of gun violence. The ordinance that restricts guns on city property can be read here. It seems very clear.
More information is held within NCGS 14-409.40 (Thanks to Matt Mittan for locating this):
§ 14?409.40. Statewide uniformity of local regulation.
“… whereby the Democrats would agree to make a baldfaced lie out of two years of presidential campaign rhetoric …”
Writing for Esquire, Charlie Pierce welcomes the top 2 percent to the Middle Class:
It was going to be people making over $250,000 a year. That was the line in the sand. You couldn’t go 15 minutes at an Obama rally anywhere in America in the year about to pass from us without his expressing an ironclad committment to that number. And, as Jonathan Cohn and others have pointed out, even that was probably too high, but I gave him some slack in that $250,000 was probably the best deal he could blackjack out of the Congress once he got re-elected.
Little did I know that the line in the sand was adjustable by 60 percent. Personally, I’d like to welcome every one of you making over $400,000 a year to The Middle Class. Never thought we’d see you all around here. (Nice shoes. Payless?) C’mon over and bowl a couple of frames, will you? Next bucket of Buds is on you, by the way. We got room in the RV when we go to Talladega next summer. You in? This old thing? Hell, Costco, $8.95. Pass me the cheese fries, will you, Trip? And, for Chrissakes, loosen your tie.
Because at this special time of year every all-American kid dreams of being an assassin.
Semiauto handgun? Check. Bushmaster? Check. (Picked it up at Walmart’s everyday low prices.) High-capacity magazines? Check. Silencers? Doh!!
In case you’re wondering, the answer is yes, the gun lobby’s grand strategy rests grotesquely on fake concern for child hearing health. Among the opening shots in the campaign was a feature in the February 2011 issue of Gun World, “Silence is Golden,” penned by the veteran gun writer Jim Dickson. “One only has to look at children in the rest of the world learning to shoot with silencers, protecting their tender young ears, to see what an innocent safety device we are talking about here,” writes Dickson. “To use an overworked propaganda phrase, legalize silencers ‘for the sake of the children.’” [Emphasis Salon's]