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08 Feb 2012 10:01


Politics: Must-read of the week: The Washington Post’s “Capital Assets” series

  • In case you haven’t seen this, the Post’s coverage of how members of Congress are directing spending to places where it benefits them personally is pretty impressive. Examples: Sen. Richard Shelby helped push more than $100 million in earmarks to help rebuild Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and much of that money went to nicen up an area directly around an office building he owns in the city, which has risen in property value as development has increased. (Watch the video; it syncs up with a map of Tuscaloosa.) He’s not alone. Congressmen around the country directly or indirectly benefited from millions in spending that, at the very least, might give them a nicer view around their property — or in other cases, benefited their family members. The Post did a lot of great work on this piece, and it shows. source

29 Jun 2011 18:03


U.S.: Cost of last decade’s wars much higher than Obama said

  • $3.7 trillion cost for the United States’ post-9/11 wars source
  • » The wages of war: When President Obama referred to a $1 trillion price tag for America’s wars in the last decade, he clearly hadn’t spoken to the folks running the Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute. The project determined the above figure through calculations that included future costs, such as health services for wounded veterans returning home, as well as counting what’s generally referred to as our “secret” war in Pakistan.

02 Jun 2011 15:45


Biz, U.S.: Moody’s threatens U.S. credit rating downgrade over debt crisis

  • Full faith and credit: Moody’s Investors Service warns that a failure by the U.S. Congress to come to an agreement on raising the debt limit could imperil the country’s AAA credit rating: “The heightened polarization over the debt limit has increased the odds of a short-lived default. If this situation remains unchanged in coming weeks, Moody’s will place the rating under review.” You may remember a similar warning from Standard and Poor’s last April — it’s becoming increasingly clear that the debt limit struggle, in addition to the gaping chasm between what Democrats and Republicans would care to do on spending and deficit issues (such a chasm usually means gridlock), is causing angst for financial agencies. source

13 Apr 2011 15:23


U.S.: Obama has harsh words for the Paul Ryan budget

  • The fact is [Paul Ryan’s budget] is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America.
  • President Barack Obama • Speaking about Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity,” which liberals have bemoaned for placing too much additional burden on the financially poor. Whatever you may think about Ryan’s proposal, the claim the President is making seems astute. The ideological battle between Democrats and Republicans in modern America is much more about public vs. private function than it ever truly ends up being about spending; both parties spend a ton without a second thought (the Republican’s ability to whitewash this fact must rank as a political marvel of the highest order). Rather, the Republican consistency has usually been to cut government’s role in social equity whenever they can, shredding elements of the social compact being only a political issue, not a moral one. As Paul Ryan said, his proposal isn’t just a budget, it’s a “cause.” source

08 Mar 2011 15:11


Politics: West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is not very impressed

  • Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations, our president, has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for?
  • Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin • Calling out President Obama’s leadership on the floor of the Senate today. That this criticism came from freshman Senator Manchin shouldn’t come as a big surprise, as he’s a very conservative Democrat (you may remember him shooting the cap-and-trade bill with a rifle). With the looming departure of Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman in 2012, the West Virginia senator seems primed to hoist the title of “Democrat who most antagonizes his own party” going forward. source

25 Feb 2011 14:25


Politics: More on Rachel Maddow, PolitiFact and other fun stuff

  • In case you didn’t see our comment on Rachel Maddow’s war of words with PolitiFact, we’d like to point it out again for your kids. We think that there is a lot of context worthy of your time. Above is Maddow’s clip from last night, which, while accurate in pointing out that PolitiFact isn’t always right, does the same kind of cherry-picking that PolitiFact did. From the report, they only quoted a two-second part of a clip that has much more direct context at play. Tommy Christopher at Mediaite took a swing at this whole issue, too, and you know what? He noticed the same thing we did about her surplus/deficit quote. “That passage can be read both ways, but in at least the semantic sense, Politifact is wrong. Their reading of this passage is a matter of interpretation.” In other words, while the exact quote Rachel Maddow pulled proves PolitiFact’s headline is in fact “False,” the problem is that the larger context, which claims that Walker turned a surplus into a deficit (the point of the article), is closer to the truth than Maddow’s people will like. Sorry, Rachel. source

20 Feb 2011 17:07


Politics: A Senate revival? The secondary F-35 engine that just won’t die

  • yes House GOP leadership, led by Speaker John Boehner (whose state stood to benefit), fought for additional funding for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s second engine.
  • no However, it was forced out of the bill thanks to the hard work of Rep. Tom Rooney, who corralled the freshmen Republicans to block the amendment. Whoo!
  • yes Now, Sens. John Kerry and Scott Brown, among others, are working to ensure the funding gets back in the bill. Hey, at least it’s bipartisan, right? source

18 Feb 2011 15:50


U.S.: Another paper tiger? House pushes to strip Planned Parenthood funding

  • 240-185 to strip the org of funding source
  • » This has nothing to do with abortions: This bill, which only passed in the GOP-controlled house, affects preventative-health services like cancer screenings or contraception – not abortions, which are maybe 3% of Planned Parenthood’s entire array of services and are already not supported through federal funding – at the grand cost of $330 million. Now, the likelihood that this would actually affect Planned Parenthood as-is? That’s very low, because this is part of that whole Republican-pushed spending plan that will likely not get through the Senate or Obama in its current form, but the fact that it’s even on the table is getting a lot of people worked up.

17 Feb 2011 10:14


Politics: Who’s Tom Rooney, and how did he beat John Boehner, anyway?

  • We had to school them quickly. We hit a lot of them very fast, and told them it was a cut in front of them today, versus what may or may not happen in the future.
  • Florida Rep. Tom Rooney • Explaining the process he used to corral freshmen House members to help kill the funding for a competitive engine for a F-35 Joint Strike Fighter – against the plans of John Boehner, who pushed the bill on House leaders largely because the chief beneficiary, GE, is a major employer in Ohio, his home state. The plan, which would’ve cost $450 million, wasn’t to build the engine itself but to have a backup just in case something goes wrong. Rooney, a sophomore congressman, corralled 47 freshman House members to score a 233-198 vote on an amendment that scuttled the program. Not bad, kid. You’re gonna go far. source

31 Jan 2011 12:52


Politics: Speaker Boehner pushes back on anti-debt ceiling talk

  • That would be a financial disaster not only for our country, but for the worldwide economy.
  • Speaker Of The House John Boehner • Appearing on Fox News Sunday, the Speaker waded into the debt ceiling issue, seeming to suggest that to his mind, failure to raise the limit would be unthinkable. The nature of Boehner’s unabashed candor is very surprising, considering the Republican voices who have recently toyed with the idea of voting against raising the ceiling. This may be an early example of the internal struggle between establishment Republicanism and their new Tea Party cohorts. source