There's been a lot of talk in the US media about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the "Grand Bargain
" What are they?
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration." Fiscal Cliff 101: 5 Basic Questions Answered
. What's Happening: Fiscal Cliff Explained [more inside]
The November 6th elections saw a lot of historic decisions made in the United States -- the first black president re-elected
, marijuana legalized for the first time
in two states, gay marriage affirmed by the voters
in four, and even the first openly gay senator
. But perhaps the most underreported result yesterday came from outside the country altogether: in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a solid majority voted to reject the island's current status and join America
as the long-fabled 51st state
How the bid might fare in Congress is an open question, but both President Obama
and Republican leaders
have vowed support for the statehood movement if it proves successful at the ballot box (while D.C. officials ponder a two-fer gambit
to grease the wheels). Though it would be the poorest state
, joining the Union might bring economic benefits to both sides [PDF]
And politically, some argue the island might prove to be a reliably red state
, despite the Hispanic population, although arch-conservative
governor and Romney ally Luis Fortuño
appears headed toward a narrow loss
. But the most important question here, as always, is: how to redesign the flag?
(Puerto Rican statehood discussed previously.)
Want to live it up at the U.S. party conventions and get access to Senators and Congressmen? USA Today
has posted the campaign committee price lists:
If you've got the dough, you may conveniently request a convention package
online from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
The National Republican Congressional Committee
and the NRSC
on their sites, but it seems like the DSCC and DCCC
sites keep theirs under wraps.
"Undeclared Global Weather War" : you're now living in a bad James Bond flick
Yeah, I know: a Hoagland morass.'Cept there's that damn pending weather mod bill in Congress
, the anomalous "tuning fork" patterns that seem to guide recent hurricanes ( see main link, esp. Ophelia footage ) , the USAF document, "Weather as a Force Multiplier"
, the '97 quote by Secretary of defense William Cohen..... Is somebody lobbing Hurricanes at the US ? Weather sure has been weird, I'll say that. Could it be......TeslaFinger™ ?
America the Polarized
NYT's Paul Krugman says that Congress is polarized because Republicans have moved to the right, while Democrats have remained fairly constant. He (and a political scientist) attribute the change to economic polarization, the sharply widening inequality of income and wealth.