About a hundred years ago, our nation was engaged in World War I, and needed to simplify how the government funded its responsibilities. For the Treasury to be able to fund debts incurred from obligations already legislated by Congress without additional votes from Congress every time money was to be released, the debt ceiling was created.
The government website describes the debt ceiling best: “Indeed, the debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments; it simply allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and presidents of both parties have approved in the past.” (http://www.treasury.gov/)
The debt ceiling has been raised dozens of times, and typically with no fanfare, until… Read more
We all know that U.S House Speaker John Boehner is well-known to break out in tears, as he did recently after being reelected as House Speaker. John Boehner is a weeper, the only thing is, what he weeps about usually is something not worth weeping about. He wept uncontrollably once over an Iraq war spending bill.
This is my Bead-Read for Mr. Boehner:
Find something worth weeping about John. Many of us Americans weep, just as we did recently when a madman with a gun, mowed down 26 people including 20 children at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. Right now, I myself could find a fresh batch of tears, just thinking about it. Read more
The fiscal cliff was an artificial problem caused by a Congress punting an issue and settled by Congress punting an issue.
When President Obama caved last time, he swore it would truly be the last time, a resolution he re-resolved this time, which will last until he caves next time.
The Republicans show serious resolve to refuse to seriously solve anything. The Democrats are only resolute in their commitment never to be too resolute.
We're kicking off a new year, but Washington can't kick old habits. We need a New Year's resolution to see this year new real solutions…or hey, we'll say we want a revolution.
Our revolution begins at happy hour so make your resolution to raise a glass at your local progressive social club.
Find - or start - chapter near you.
For Gay Americans like me, the last couple of years have been good ones for us. We have seen the end of DODT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) so that our gay brothers and sisters cannot only serve, but serve honestly and openly about their sexuality.
We have also seen the very first American president make a statement saying that he supports gay marriage. Along with that, we have several states, which have legalized same-sex marriage across America. Gay people are now accepted by a majority of Americans as friends and good neighbors, along with our right to marry. Many of us can still remember a time when being gay could cause you the loss of a job or housing, or even arrest. For someone like me, I am amazed at the speed that approval for gay rights has grown in the last few years in this country Read more
Watching the House vote on the Senate’s bill to avoid the fiscal cliff last night, I was struck by how relieving it can be to watch our leaders to their jobs. When the votes were tallied, we saw forward movement, with Reps. Boehner and Paul voting in favor of the necessary legislation. A splinter of hope was realized in the middle of the night on New Year’s Day. Rationality won out over ideology.
What has nearly broken our union time and again is a devotion to identity politics: so often we vote for candidates we think are like ourselves rather than the best people for the jobs. President Obama’s administration has been harassed and harangued by politicians and a media outlet obsessed with how his identity is different than theirs- and consequently, they’ve felt him unworthy of their support. At last, we are seeing that strident belief begin to weaken, and a glimmer of logic shines in. Read more
Though it took going past the deadline into the New Year, the United States Congress managed to settle on a deal that raises taxes on the wealthiest Americans who make over $400 thousand a year for individuals and $450 thousand for couples and yet continues the Bush tax cuts for everyone else.
There was dissatisfaction from both sides of the aisle, as some Democrats were angry about President Obama raising the threshold for raising taxes, from $250 thousand a year to the $450 thousand, and some Republicans were angry because of the lack of spending cuts in the bill. The last step for final passage of the bill in the house, saw the Republican leadership split, with House Speaker John Boehner (OH) voting for the bill and Eric Cantor (VA) voting against.
The bill passed the U.S. House 257-167 and now awaits Obama’s signature which he has assured us he will sign. Read more
What a great day!!
First of all we watched the spectacle of the GOP openly revolting against Speaker Boehner’s ludicrous "Plan B" stunt.
As one Republican put it - "Voting for a tax increase on millionaires is the most difficult vote of their careers for many Republican House members".
Also not voted on was chief weasal Eric Cantor’s proposal to change the "fiscal cliff" cuts to military spending and instead cut food stamps, services for the disabled, school lunches etc.
Is there still any doubt that these House members are intent on strangling government rather than governing?
Better we should all hold hands and jump over the mythical cliff. Democrats can then immediately introduce legislation to restore the tax cuts for those making less than $250K a year and dare the GOP House to vote against it.
Subsequent to this fiasco, we watch the Fuehrer of the NRA making his "meaningful" contribution to the gun debate.
All schools should be armed.
Just frikking brilliant.
No discussion of banning weapons of war or high capacity magazines. No discussion of closing gun show loopholes. No. No. No.
Nope. Read more
As many might remember in July of this year we released the results of our presidential electoral model to predict the results of the 2012 election. As opposed to many predictive models out there (Nate Silver’s 538 blog being the best known) that rely on publicly available data up to the day of the election, our model is based mainly on past results and demographic changes in the country. We do not use any polling or factor in who the candidates are.
The model not only performed exceptionally well at predicting the national support Obama would receive, but we also predicted the state that would put Obama over the 270 threshold (Colorado). Read more
Little children at Sandy Hook Elementary were told by police to "hold hands and shut your eyes" as they exited the building following Friday’s mass shooting in Connecticut, according to witnesses. Wanting to spare students from further trauma, officials tried to protect them from the grisly scene. What these kids endured was already so far outside the boundaries of normal, so excruciatingly traumatic, perhaps they will never be the same; I don’t believe any of us will be.
America is one large community- a family of 315 million souls, and it seems every one of us felt this tragedy as if it’d happened one town over. We watched every news update, called our loved ones, and cried at our televisions and laptops. The folks in Newtown are in countless thoughts and prayers. We send so much love to this community, the force of it should measure on the Richter scale; yet no amount of concern can alleviate the pain this town is feeling, especially the 26 families who lost a loved one. Read more
I posted this after Aurora. Unfortunately it fits again.
And so we have another "massacre", this time in Aurora, Colorado, maybe 20 miles from Columbine. Pretty soon we can just start characterizing these barbarities as "incidents".
This one is life imitating art. Apparently the young man colored his hair red and called himself "The Joker"; Batman’s arch nemesis was going to spoil the midnight showing.
Our young man had no trouble at all buying four guns at local gun stores, and chemical weapons, full body armor, a gas mask and some six thousand rounds of ammunition over the internet. He had it all shipped directly to his school dorm and to his apartment - over 60 deliveries by UPS alone. Fifteen thousand dollar’s worth of shit.
Did anyone ever ask why this kid, who wasn’t a cop or in the military needed full body armor?
Naah. This is a free country.
As it turns out our brilliant neuro-scientist was a loner and totally forgettable if you passed him on a street or saw him on a bar stool. No criminal record. No Face Book page; no girl friend; no close buddies apparently.
Forgettable. Read more
How are leaders made? Is it possible to raise children to become tomorrow's elected officials, or at least active voters? Wondering what my peers and I must do to rear a successful next generation, I’ve come up with one answer: involvement. Children need to be shown how to do things- leadership skills must be taught by engaging in the political process. And really, it’s not that hard to do.
When I volunteered for Organizing for America, I brought my children to most of the events. Towards the end of the campaign, I worked on material when they were at school, but often in the evenings, they watched me write blogs, respond to emails and texts, and edit photos. In real time, they saw how one small part in a huge endeavor got done. The results were posted online, and I occasionally showed them my work, so they could see how actions yield results. Read more