Maiello: Where Your Tax Dollars Go
Doc Cleveland: Copyright vs. Truth
When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, Amy Winehouse was still alive and the launch of Apple's first iPad was a month away. We are talking ancient history, here. Yet, as I write this, we are less than 12 hours away from a government shutdown caused by a budget impasse caused by Republican insistence that the law now known as Obamacare be delayed and then defunded. The Republican struggle to unpass the ACA has not ceased since it became law. Along the way the name "Obamacare" changed from a term of derision to one that the President now owns. [Read more]
When 19-year-old Andrew Anderson started working at the Goodwill store in East Naples, Florida, he thought his job was pretty cool. He was working in a place where poor and low-income people came to buy the things they couldn't afford anywhere else.
"It makes you feel amazing," he said, "makes you feel you can actually be the person to help them."
Today's news explicating in part the ostensible shortcomings in the process by way of which Edward Snowden and Aaron Alexis received their security clearances ought to give pause to the insane stampede of contracting out government that began during the Reagan years. [Read more]
Since Articleman is not here to give us his more discerning take, I will predict that the Republicans in the House, led by Speaker Boehner, will not pass a 'clean continuing resolution', or any government spending Bill the President will sign, by this Monday. Their ultimate list of demands for federal law and finances includes everything from means testing for Medicare, less regulation of Wall Street, tax cuts for the rich, approving the XL pipeline to deregulation of environmental laws.  [Read more]
The political repercussions of the latest budget and debt hostage-taking exercise by tea Republicans in Congress won't be known for another week or two when we find out whether or not the government has been shut down, if the nation's credit rating has been lowered again, and what concessions Obama has made this time around. And the long term aftermath of this latest tea party act of sabotage is unpredictable. What is knowable is that Ted Cruz has name recognition on a level that rivals anyone in politics or the entertainment industry. [Read more]
Posts like these generally start with a pronouncement of lapsed Catholicism on the part of the author. I can be very atheisty. I do not study the church. I do not consider its views when I make any of my own decisions, be they moral, social, financial or dietary. This means that I have something of a tin ear for the nuance of the papal utternance.
Pope Francis says that maybe his church, at least in the developed west, has overemphasized culture war issues like same sex marriage, other gay rights, contraception and abortion. For those who follow such things, this is big. As an outside observer I raise an eyebrow and say, "you think?" [Read more]
Yesterday the Republicans in the House voted to slash 40 billion dollars in annual food stamp (SNAP) coverage over 10 years, putting some 3.8 million poor people in jeopardy of losing their pitiful but essential pennies-a-day government food support. (There are some 47 million people at the poverty level here in the United States. A shameful fact that should point out the absolute need to keep the SNAP program alive rather than killing it. But apparently in the People's House in Washington facts are sticky things to be ignored or stretched or blasted to smithereens.)
I'm as pleased as anyone that Larry Summers has withdrawn from consideration as the next Chair of the Fed. I thought he would do a terrible job. But Summers himself was never the real problem. His candidacy was only a symptom. The real problem is that we have a President who wanted to nominate Summers in the first place. Obama does not understand what's wrong with the American economy, and five years into his term, he persists in some basic misunderstandings.
Reuters had me back today in advance of the sixth Federal Reserve meeting of 2013, the meeting that is meant to signal the beginning of the end of quantitative easing and the eventual return to normal Fed operations.
Worse, though Ben Bernanke has done a very good job and has tried his best, he hasn't done near what the economy required. Jim Reid at Deutsche Bank argues that the Fed should have followed a far more audacious path by targeting GDP growth rather than inflation. I'm convinced. [Read more]
WHEN asked to explain why he was running for a seat in the Australian Senate while holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Julian Assange quoted Plato: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”Plato was “a bit of a fascist,” he said, but had a point.Imagine the chagrin Mr. Assange must feel now, given that not only did he fail to win a place in the Senate in the recent election, but he was less successful than Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiasts Party. Mr. Muir, who won just 0.5 percent of the vote, is most famous for having posted a video on YouTube of himself having a kangaroo feces fight with friends.
On another blog I got into a bit of a dust-up on Syria. While not really advocating for anything, I asked the writer, some one recommended high by Princeton foreign affairs pundit Anne Marie Slaughter on Twitter, why he wasn't giving much weight to the idea the fact that American voters from both parties were mildly to intensely against military intervention in Syria. I laid out the usual concessions to the nature of a Democratic Republic and the problems inherent in foreign policy by opinion poll but still, I insisted (and insist) the public appetite for something like this should carry some weight. [Read more]
Education reform in America is always an attempt to get something for free. It has been that way for at least twenty-five years. No matter what the scheme of the hour is (charter schools, Teach for America, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top) or whether you're talking about K-12 or college, every reformer makes one of two promises. Either they promise to make education better without spending any more money, or they promise to make education better while spending less money. Education reformers basically say, "Four dollars is too much to pay for a hamburger. Bring me a three dollar steak."
Today marks the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. [Read more]
Putin's now universally known initiative on chemical weapons control in Syria has, in my opinion, opened the door to essential American character traits which may preordain our getting more involved in Syria's war.
We don't like to be lied to. We particularly don't like to be played for chumps. When we do decide to address a problem, we are impatient. We are capable of revenge, but as one pundit has put it, "...we have the watches, the Middle Easterners have the time." We don't have the patience for cold revenge, we like ours hot. And if Putin is playing us for chumps, he has all but written a scenario for American intervention. [Read more]
When one discovers a friend has lied or an associate has stolen, a trust has been violated and the pre-existing bond is broken - often irrevocably.
Such is the case with our current government versus U.S. citizens allied with people aroud the world. Each day, new revelations detail how our government has spied on its own citizens, foreign leaders, and allies. Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian reporter who covers the Edward Snowden story, is rumored to be preparing a story how the U.S. government assigned the CIA to spy to benefit U.S. multi-national corporations on matters not affecting U.S. security, In essence, spying for fun and profit. This was made legal during the Clinton administration but it was never made ethical or honorable - nor was it made widely public. [Read more]
Those of you who know me know that I torture myself with The New York Times Op-Ed page, allowing many of my first post gym hours to be consumed by perplexed rage at the chosen few who have access to the most coveted op-ed space in all the land.  [Read more]
In the chaos surrounding the possible Syria strike, mass shootings, George Zimmerman and all sorts of other things, you might have missed out on a really strange story - Dennis Rodman's apparent new job as ambassador to North Korea. [Read more]
Whatever is ultimately decided regarding Syria, I think that we have finally found an issue where both sides, in the main, have very reasonable and persuasive arguments.
The arguments for action are humanitarian, have long term implications for global stability and, as recently argued by Secretary of State John Kerry, have a certain timeliness in that failing to act now could conceivably result in our having to react to something worse later on. I also buy Michael Wolraich's argument that the use of chemical weapons is more akin to sending soldiers house to house to kill the families of the opposition than it is to the conventional use of weapons on the battlefield. [Read more]