Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘budget

Thursday Thursday Thursday

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* A filibuster too far? Granting that no one has ever been thrown out of office for underestimating the attention span of the American people, filibustering a jobs bill at a time of 10% (official) unemployment seems like a really bad idea for Republicans interested in capitalizing on their apparent political momentum. Of course, this is the same party that spent eight months needlessly blocking the appointment of a woman confirmed today 94-2, so obviously we’re playing by different playbooks here.

* More bad policy that is also bad politics: the Republican “shadow budget” apparently calls for an end to Medicare. I’m so old I can remember when the Republicans were pretending they loved Medicare last summer. Can Democrats find a way to miss this pitch?

* The White House is how quietly telling people they support the course of action that is obvious to everyone.

* Visit Kcymaerxthaere, “a parallel universe that shares, to some degree, our physical planet.” Via MetaFilter, where a commenter notes this is reminiscent of the plot of Borges’s “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius.”

* Also at MetaFilter: great moments in prank wills.

* Vu and Kottke both have articles about proposed revisions to evolutionary theory, the first highlighting enviromentalistic biases in traditional evolutionary theory and the second suggesting horizontal gene transfer has been the dominant mode of evolution for most of life’s history on Earth.

* And today’s saddest headline: ‘Ancient tribal language becomes extinct as last speaker dies.’

Monday Night Links

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* It’s been fifty years since the Greensboro Sit-Ins. Appropriate the city’s Civil Rights Museum, long vaporware, finally opened today.

* Bill Watterson has given his first interview since 1989. The grown-up Calvin & Hobbes post is still, by a good bit, my most popular post ever; there are, of course, many others.

* At right: The Ultimate Graphic Novel. Via SEK.

* Arrested Development with a laugh track. Bad, bad. Via that notorious AD fan, @drbluman.

* Defense as percent of GDP. Related: Visualizing Obama’s 2011 budget.

* Polling proves there are only five Republican states. Five too many, naturally.

* More Obama counternarrative: John Judis on rebuilding the federal bureaucracy. Kim Stanley Robinson hit this note more than once during his campus visit last week. (more on this in a bit).

* Counter-counternarrative: Obama’s new nuke push is a bad idea.

Crazy Busy Links

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Today was busy and tomorrow’s very busy, but after that I get a breather. Here are some links.

* With the upcoming retirement of the space shuttle and Obama’s quiet cancelation of the planned return to the Moon, America essentially no longer has a manned space program. (Via MeFi.) For a nerd I’m actually pretty bearish on space and think there’s probably nothing up there for us—but all the same this makes me really sad.

* Where are all the aliens? Maybe they killed themselves through geoengineering.

* Related: the UFO that mined uranium in Argentina during the 1970s has returned.

* Hard times in academia: college endowments lost $58 billion dollars last year, about 19%.

* How to Report the News. This is perfect.

* Pelosi for president: “You go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, you go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole-vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in. But we’re going to get health care reform passed for the American people.”

* How Obama will double exports in five years: the magic of inflation. When you put it that way it sounds a lot less impressive.

* And Republicans have voted 0-40 against another one of their own ideas.

The Big Chill

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Responding to my post entitled “You’re Screwing Everything Up,” in which I characterize the spending freeze as an election-year pivot in response to the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts, Shankar suggests instead this Noam Scheiber piece from TNR last month that demonstrates certain people in the administration have actually been invested in this plan for quite some time. I concede the point: the spending freeze is probably less brazenly opportunistic than I originally thought, though that still doesn’t in itself make it a good idea.

Here, for what it’s worth, is Scheiber’s pro-freeze brief:

But there is a logic to Orszag’s gambit, which runs roughly as follows: It’s almost certain that Congress will pass, and the president will sign, a jobs bill early next year, probably in the neighborhood of $100 billion to $200 billion. Given that, and given the difficulty of doing anything about the long-term deficit next year, the administration needs some signal to U.S. bondholders that it takes the deficit seriously. Just not so seriously that it undercuts the extra stimulus.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 27, 2010 at 12:38 am

DoD Cuts Always Already DOA

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It’s time for “everyone” to sacrifice and suffer some more — as long as “everyone” excludes our vast military industry, the permanent power factions inside the Pentagon and intelligence community, our Surveillance and National Security State, and the imperial policies of perpetual war which feed them while further draining the lifeblood out of the country.

I still think Greenwald is dramatically wrong about Citizens United, but good Lord he’s right about defense spending.

Since much of that overall spending is mandatory, military spending — all of which is discretionary — accounts for over 50% of discretionary government spending. Yet it’s absolutely forbidden to even contemplate reducing it as a means of reducing our debt or deficit. Since much of that overall spending is mandatory, military spending — all of which is discretionary — accounts for over 50% of discretionary government spending. Yet it’s absolutely forbidden to even contemplate reducing it as a means of reducing our debt or deficit. To the contrary, Obama ran on a platform of increasing military spending, and that is one of the few pledges he is faithfully and enthusiastically filling (while violating his pledge not to use deceitful budgetary tricks to fund our wars)…

Spencer Ackerman is also beating this drum. The simple fact is that any attempt to tackle either deficit spending or long-term structural debt without deep cuts at the Department of Defense is, by definition, totally unserious, not to mention disingenuous.

Politix

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Politics Tuesday.

* GOP: If we only lose eight Senate seats this year, we win. Never stop chasing that rainbow.

* Salon says relax, liberals, we’ve already won. I’m not going to relax until I see Obama with 270+ electoral votes in November, and probably not for a few days even then.

* American Public Media has a Budget Hero game to try and fix the national budget. Via MeFi.

* The Democratic Primary in eight minutes.

Written by gerrycanavan

June 10, 2008 at 1:32 pm