John Boehner’s next job could be as a safety buoy bobbing gently in the waters of the Fiscal Shoals, warning off the unwary. (“These are not tears,” he will say with a sad little smile; “it’s only the life-giving waters of the sea in my eyes.”) If he falls, he’ll likely give way to one among the group of 40-something white guys who call themselves The Young Guns, which right there gives you multiple insights into some of the things troubling the Grand Old Party.
House and Senate staff members will take an 8.2% pay cut if their bosses don’t get a tax and deficit deal done before the end of the first federal pay period in 2013. Collectively, the staff are looking at more than $100 million in cuts for the year. Possibly this will have an impact on the negotiations. Their bosses, who included themselves among America’s Warriors and others so valuable or vulnerable as to warrant protection from any budget reductions, face a 0% cut (although their foreign currency conversion allowance will take a brutal hit). Even John Boehner will still get paid despite demonstrating live on national television that he can’t do the job for which he draws a larger pay check than anyone else in the House.
(“Who should get pay cuts?” “Well, let’s start with the obvious: not us. VA nurses first.”)
Continue reading Bobbing for sharks with Orange John Boehner
I like to read the contract notices issued by the Pentagon. On a good day you can watch billions and billions of dollars go out the door in support of blowing various things and people up. Among the beneficiaries of today’s contracts is UNICOR, the government corporation that contracts prison labor to make stuff . . . → Read More: In which we use prison labor to make body armor to sell overseas
Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this before.
One would like to believe that in the face of a massive and growing emergency, our benevolent governors will recognize the need to do something, figure out what to do and then, do it. With respect to climate change, none of that is happening. I have created a very modest little mechanism through which anyone concerned can help exert some pressure on the Obama administration to at least begin developing a plan for coping with climate change, which I’ll get to downstream a bit.
Everyone who acknowledges the reality of climate change recognizes that it constitutes a crisis. Five years ago, a staid military think tank called the Center for Naval Analyses commissioned and published a report on the national security threat posed by climate change.
In the national and international security environment, climate change threatens to add new hostile and stressing factors. On the simplest level, it has the potential to create sustained natural and humanitarian disasters on a scale far beyond those we see today. The consequences will likely foster political instability where societal demands exceed the capacity of governments to cope.
CNA is populated by retired admirals and generals whose climate change concerns run mostly toward preparing the US military to cope with the consequences of long-term, escalating global unrest. They’re not a group of flamboyant alarmists. Neither are the technocrats and fat cats at the World Bank, whose concerns are keeping the world safe for development, and who last month issued a frankly terrifying report on climate change called “Turn Down The Heat,” in which they predict a 4-degree rise in global temperatures by the end of this century if the threat is left unaddressed. There is, say the authors, “no certainty that adaptation to a 4°C world is possible.”
In other words, if we proceed as we are then the next generation but one may get to witness the fabled end of the world as we know it, and we’ll all walk down a long mile of very bad road in the meantime.
Continue reading Pressuring the Obama Administration on climate change, redux
The giant sucking sound Ross Perot wants you to hear these days is him endorsing Mitt Romney on the basis of Romney’s presumed fiscally responsible policies. Perot, who wasn’t born yesterday, posits that history began in 2009 and says experts support Romney’s contention that the mome raths outgrabe.
Democrats, meanwhile, are shocked, shocked! that the company Romney once owned and still profits from is outsourcing jobs to China in a particularly callous fashion — requiring American workers at Sensata, an auto parts maker, to conclude their own employment by training their Chinese replacements. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin (who recently declined to sign a letter pledging to block Social Security cuts) is joining Sensata workers today in a show of solidarity.
Continue reading Free trade, terracotta candidates and cardboard bicycles
Not long after the big Republican win in the 2010 elections, the Obama administration’s best and brightest gave up on explaining that putting people to work is really good for both the economy and for people who need work. The concept was too complicated for voters, they thought, so instead the president went off to negotiate with a crew of irresolute drunks and psychotic killer termites over how best to tighten the belt of government around the necks of the poor, the sick, the old and the unemployed.
This is according to David Corn’s new book, Showdown, which is apparently meant as a generous portrait of the administration.
Continue reading An epitaph for Obama: “I think we’ve all learned a valuable lesson.”
I like to think of myself as a more than ordinarily empathetic guy, but this …
“People who don’t have money don’t understand the stress.”
… smacks the gob in atomic fashion.
Schiff, 46, is facing another kind of jam this year: Paid a lower bonus, he said the $350,000 he earns, enough to . . . → Read More: What do you do when somebody begs to be hunted down by a pitchfork mob?
The European countries acting on behalf of Greece’s creditors are bullies. Americans are saps. And a group of sane doctors may get the right result for all the wrong reasons.
As is the bully’s practice, the more the Greeks concede, the more the bullies demand. To this point the bullying has worked (for the bullies) but now the country’s managers are in fear for their political lives, at least, so the country looks as likely to default on its debts as to accept the latest turn of the screw.
Continue reading How the patience of the Greeks spells doom; plus, Crazed Doctors for Sanity
I didn’t get around to reading the State of the Union speech until this morning because the idiot White House didn’t post a transcript on their web site before I went to bed last night, and be damned if I’m going to subject myself to the audiovisual torment of a major political speech ever again. So I apologize to both of you for not responding immediately, as I hear that some malevolent homunculus from my former home state, Indiana, did.
The speech can be divided into two parts: the part that recognized and cashed in on all the pressure toward economic justice that Occupy created* during the past four months, and the part that didn’t.
Continue reading So Tu, Bluto?