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The Sword of Damacles has Fallen
Author: BobR    Date: 03/01/2013 13:49:08

It's here. Starting today, the fiscal manifestation of a dysfunctional Congress becomes real. Created over a year ago as a Sword of Damacles to ensure a sensible budget was created (voted into place by congressional Republicans), the "sequestor" was meant to be the financial equivalent of mutual assured destruction of nuclear weaponry.

The trigger was actually cocked last year when the Congress once again failed to agree on a budget that reduced the deficit the required amount (Republicans objected to tax increases and cuts in military spending; Democrats objected to cuts in domestic programs and "entitlements"). As the ball dropped in Times Square on New Years Eve, the sequestor took effect. Republicans were wise enough to understand the implications of immediate tax increases on everyone and finally allowed a bill to go through to retroactively prevent the tax increases on everyone making below $400K (although the FICA tax cut was allowed to expire). They punted the spending cuts down the road for two months.

So - here it is two months later. The House has only actually been in session for a handful of weeks, due to their lax schedule. Naturally, nothing has been accomplished with regards to the budget. The Speaker adjourned the House yesterday around lunch time, signaling that they were giving up on reaching an accord. Some members of both parties actually seem to be happy about this. We can only assume they do not represent states that will be hardest hit by the automatic axe coming down.

So what does this mean? It means no more military flyovers at sporting events and airshows. It means fewer air traffic controllers, fewer jobs for maintaining equipment at military bases, public parks with abbreviated hours, less money for infrastructure improvements, schools, and head start programs at a time when these all are in desperate need of cash. It also affects the small businesses that provide products and services to the people that staff these jobs. This will increase unemployment and hurt the economy:
The White House has warned that the indiscriminate cuts are written into law in such a way that their impact cannot be alleviated.

It warns that 800,000 civilian employees of the Defense Department will go on a mandatory furlough one day a week and the navy will trim voyages. The deployment of a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf has been canceled.

About 70,000 children less than five years old will be cut from the Head Start preschool program, resulting in the elimination of 14,000 teaching positions. Services for special needs kids will also take a hit.

Authorities warn that average wait times for passengers at US immigration will increase by 30-50 percent and may exceed four hours during peak times.

Security lines will also grow longer as the Transportation Security Administration enacts a hiring freeze, eliminates overtime and furloughs 50,000 employees.

The National Institutes of Health and other federally-funded scientists will have to delay or halt research and the Food and Drug Administration will conduct 2,100 fewer inspections, escalating the risk of food-borne illnesses.

I wonder if the Republican politicians who fly home every weekend will experience the aggravation of longer lines and wait times at the airport? One hopes they will hear from their constituents as the ripples from this gross negligence in DC make their way across the country into their home districts.

Can anything be done about it? Last time they retroactively changed the law to prevent the tax increases. Is it possible they are thinking they'll regroup on Monday and try to hammer out a compromise that eliminates the sequestor altogether? The leaders are meeting today, but there's no indication as to what - if anything - they'll be able to negotiate.

This does not bode well for the next budget, which is due in less than 28 days.

Happy Friday...

55 comments (Latest Comment: 03/01/2013 22:29:16 by Mondobubba)
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Comment by wickedpam on 03/01/2013 13:50:27
Morning

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/01/2013 14:09:27
You know those federal employees that will start to be furloughed at the end of next month? The way the furlough will work means they will be taking more than a 20% pay cut; all their with holdings for taxes, retirement, etc. are done at their actual salary. Good times for them!

Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 14:20:59
Good morning.

Thanks Boner; Thanks a lot.

Comment by TriSec on 03/01/2013 14:31:45
Greetings, comrades.

I heard that the F-35 was cleared to fly again today. Why not just leave the damn things on the ground where they belong? (I have no data on the per-hour flight costs of this beastly aberration, but it must be some kind of savings.)

I'd actually think about recalling all the aircraft carriers that weren't actually engaging the enemy. There's what, 15 of them at sea right now? We probably don't need that kind of force projection.

Oh, and we could probably stop regulating food, drugs, transportation, industry...after all, the free market will take care of that. (Fung Wah! Fung Wah! FUNG WAH!!!!!)

And hell, my Cub Scouts don't need to meet at the public school anyway. You could pull the plug on janitorial staff at all the schools and let Newt's kids clean up after themselves.

Like my brother the Union guy has suggested...the first cuts should have been Congressional Salaries, AND THEIR HEALTHCARE BENEFITS. Maybe then something would happen.


Comment by Scoopster on 03/01/2013 14:45:21
Mornin' all & Happy Fridee!

Comment by wickedpam on 03/01/2013 14:55:13
Hey, I've been caught by a motorcade - it sucks, they stop traffic in all directions and you can't move until it goes by

Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 15:03:04
Reba McEntire is going to be on the show?



Comment by wickedpam on 03/01/2013 15:07:06
Quote by Raine:
Reba McEntire is going to be on the show?



weird, she's kinda a right winger - think she's got a new show to push

Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 15:10:04
From the MTV representative -- the guy who said he can't afford to live on his 174 thousand a year job comes this brilliant Gem:
During a town hall meeting last week, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) claimed to be ignorant of trans-vaginal ultrasounds and their recent involvement in the debate over abortion rights.

Duffy was asked whether he supported the Woman’s Right to Know her Unborn Child Act, which would require a woman to receive a trans-vaginal ultrasound prior to terminating her pregnancy. Top Republicans in the Wisconsin legislature have said the bill was a “priority” and “long overdue.”

But Duffy said he didn’t know what a trans-vaginal ultrasound was.

“I haven’t had one,” he remarked.


Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 15:10:51
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
Reba McEntire is going to be on the show?



weird, she's kinda a right winger - think she's got a new show to push
That was my thinking too -- she was a bush supporter and she slammed the Dixie Chicks. Strange booking.


Comment by wickedpam on 03/01/2013 15:11:49
Quote by Raine:
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
Reba McEntire is going to be on the show?



weird, she's kinda a right winger - think she's got a new show to push
That was my thinking too -- she was a bush supporter and she slammed the Dixie Chicks. Strange booking.



when she slammed the Chicks is when I stopped listening to country

Comment by TriSec on 03/01/2013 15:11:52
Article II, Section 3:

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

It's time. Time for Obama to exercise his constitutional powers and maybe rule by decree for a little while.



Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 15:21:11
Dennis Rodman -- never fails to prove what a freak he is.
"You have a friend for life," he told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday. Word of his comments comes from the VICE media production company that sent Rodman and members of the Harlem Globetrotters to the Stalinist state as part of an upcoming HBO series that will explore "news, culture and current events from all around the world."


He makes Charlie Sheen seem rational.


Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 15:25:41
Racist much caller?

Comment by clintster on 03/01/2013 15:26:52
When that guy said "People misunderstand me when I talk", I knew that would only end in tears.

Comment by Scoopster on 03/01/2013 15:30:32
Heh.. last night I watched the old Zero Mostel/Gene Wilder version of The Producers. so good!

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/01/2013 15:37:02
Quote by Scoopster:
Heh.. last night I watched the old Zero Mostel/Gene Wilder version of The Producers. so good!



"I'm wet, I'm in pain, I'm hysterical!"

Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 15:41:57
Quote by clintster:
When that guy said "People misunderstand me when I talk", I knew that would only end in tears.
Sadness. A sad tearful clown.


Comment by Will in Chicago on 03/01/2013 15:49:48
Quote by TriSec:
Article II, Section 3:

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

It's time. Time for Obama to exercise his constitutional powers and maybe rule by decree for a little while.





Good morning, bloggers!! I hope that everyone is well. By the way, BobR, the correct spelling is the sword of Damocles.

It is time, and perhaps the President will do so in the near future. Perhaps we will see this happen as the impact of the sequester is felt. I think that the President should just move ahead and take his case to the people. Let's say that the GOP may have won a battle, but lost the war.

So it begins, the winter of our discontent.







Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 16:06:18
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/535402_250595075076531_1620305617_n.png


That is a thing of beauty.

Comment by TriSec on 03/01/2013 16:13:01
Well, that sucks.

No, Really!



Comment by BobR on 03/01/2013 16:13:03
http://assets.amuniversal.com/a30ba6a05d3501301822001dd8b71c47


Comment by TriSec on 03/01/2013 16:16:34
Evidently, the OKC bombing relief fund is run by massive tools.


A group of survivors and relatives of those killed in the Oklahoma City bombing are outraged that there is $10 million sitting in a disaster relief fund designed to help them. Meanwhile they say they’ve been denied help for years.

“They tell us that there are all these restrictions,” said Deloris Watson, whose grandson, P.J. Allen, was severely injured in the April 1995 explosion.

Watson said she was led to believe the fund was depleted because it has been so difficult over the past 18 years to get financial aid.

A year after the bombing, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation was entrusted with $14.5 million in donated money from sympathetic individuals and religious groups around the world. The money was put into a newly established Oklahoma City Disaster Relief Fund.

Then-Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating mandated that the fund be used to help with the long-term health care needs of survivors and scholarships for children who lost a parent in the blast.

Watson said the Oklahoma City Community Foundation was helpful at first, but as the years wore on, the caseworkers lost their empathy.

“It's been horrible. It has been absolutely horrible. I try not to reveal that to P.J., the struggle, the attitude, the lack of respect,” Watson told NBC News' Harry Smith in an interview airing tonight at 10pm/9CDT on NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams.

In 2005, then-11-year-old Allen needed major surgery on his trachea. Watson, who became his sole guardian after the bombing, said the Oklahoma City Community Foundation refused to pay for the surgery directly, instead steering her toward Medicaid to cover the cost.

“Why would the state of Oklahoma have to take money from taxpayers when money's been donated to the bombing fund to meet the medical needs of the children?” asked Watson.




Comment by wickedpam on 03/01/2013 16:22:12
Quote by Raine:
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/535402_250595075076531_1620305617_n.png


That is a thing of beauty.



He had me a Jello pudding

Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 16:24:42
Quote by Raine:
Dennis Rodman -- never fails to prove what a freak he is.
"You have a friend for life," he told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday. Word of his comments comes from the VICE media production company that sent Rodman and members of the Harlem Globetrotters to the Stalinist state as part of an upcoming HBO series that will explore "news, culture and current events from all around the world."


He makes Charlie Sheen seem rational.
That said this TV series looks very promising.


Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 16:25:47
Quote by TriSec:
Well, that sucks.

No, Really!

It's such a horrible story.


Comment by Mondobubba on 03/01/2013 16:28:20
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/535402_250595075076531_1620305617_n.png


That is a thing of beauty.



He had me a Jello pudding


Not just pudding, but Jello ® pudding. Nothing but the best for Yertel.


Comment by Mondobubba on 03/01/2013 16:31:19
Quote by TriSec:
Well, that sucks.

No, Really!




My wish was granted when I opened the story. I was so hoping to see Florida in the headline. Yes, it's horrible, but it's so Florida. I want to start a website that is called FloridaMan.com that aggregates weird Florida news.

Comment by TriSec on 03/01/2013 16:32:03
Well, the Red Sox might suck, but I'm hearing good things about the Reds this spring. If the pitching staff stays healthy (always the biggest if in baseball), they could go all the way.



Comment by trojanrabbit on 03/01/2013 16:34:40
The modern Republican Party is the worst threat this planet has faced.

Comment by Will in Chicago on 03/01/2013 16:35:15
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Raine:
Dennis Rodman -- never fails to prove what a freak he is.
"You have a friend for life," he told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday. Word of his comments comes from the VICE media production company that sent Rodman and members of the Harlem Globetrotters to the Stalinist state as part of an upcoming HBO series that will explore "news, culture and current events from all around the world."


He makes Charlie Sheen seem rational.
That said this TV series looks very promising.



In Chicago, many of us considered Rodman to be talented, egotistic and unstable. Mind you, he is not as nutty as some people I can name (Charles Manson) but can politely called eccentric.

Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 16:49:24
Quote by Will in Chicago:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Raine:
Dennis Rodman -- never fails to prove what a freak he is.
"You have a friend for life," he told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday. Word of his comments comes from the VICE media production company that sent Rodman and members of the Harlem Globetrotters to the Stalinist state as part of an upcoming HBO series that will explore "news, culture and current events from all around the world."


He makes Charlie Sheen seem rational.
That said this TV series looks very promising.



In Chicago, many of us considered Rodman to be talented, egotistic and unstable. Mind you, he is not as nutty as some people I can name (Charles Manson) but can politely called eccentric.
This is a bit more than eccentric, IMO:
Kims Are "Great Leaders," Rodman Says:

On his way home Friday from North Korea, former NBA star Dennis Rodman said Kim Jong Un, his father and grandfather have been "great leaders." According to The Associated Press, Rodman also said of the young North Korean leader that "he's proud, his country likes him — not like him, love him, love him. ... Guess what, I love him. The guy's really awesome."


I wouldn't go as far a Charles Manson, but I think that's pretty messed up stuff there.

Comment by Will in Chicago on 03/01/2013 16:56:57
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Will in Chicago:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Raine:
Dennis Rodman -- never fails to prove what a freak he is.
"You have a friend for life," he told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday. Word of his comments comes from the VICE media production company that sent Rodman and members of the Harlem Globetrotters to the Stalinist state as part of an upcoming HBO series that will explore "news, culture and current events from all around the world."


He makes Charlie Sheen seem rational.
That said this TV series looks very promising.



In Chicago, many of us considered Rodman to be talented, egotistic and unstable. Mind you, he is not as nutty as some people I can name (Charles Manson) but can politely called eccentric.
This is a bit more than eccentric, IMO:
Kims Are "Great Leaders," Rodman Says:

On his way home Friday from North Korea, former NBA star Dennis Rodman said Kim Jong Un, his father and grandfather have been "great leaders." According to The Associated Press, Rodman also said of the young North Korean leader that "he's proud, his country likes him — not like him, love him, love him. ... Guess what, I love him. The guy's really awesome."


I wouldn't go as far a Charles Manson, but I think that's pretty messed up stuff there.



Oh, I was being very polite in calling Rodman eccentric. He is pretty messed up and coddling to dictators is just another of his many bad choices. I am afraid that we will see a very depressing headline about Dennis Rodman one day. (Let's say that there may need to be an intervention. Dennis Rodman is as nutty as a fruitcake.)

Comment by Will in Chicago on 03/01/2013 16:58:35
Quote by trojanrabbit:
The modern Republican Party is the worst threat this planet has faced.



They are not as evil as some other groups in our history. However, the GOP policies on climate change, the environment and other issues may cause lasting harm to our ecosystem. I fear that some of them would love to be the American version of the Taliban.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/01/2013 17:04:07
Hey Virginia peeps, give it up for Governor Vag Probe, he's granted Scooty Libby is voting rights!

Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 17:27:41
Quote by Will in Chicago:
Oh, I was being very polite in calling Rodman eccentric. He is pretty messed up and coddling to dictators is just another of his many bad choices. I am afraid that we will see a very depressing headline about Dennis Rodman one day. (Let's say that there may need to be an intervention. Dennis Rodman is as nutty as a fruitcake.)
Ahh... I see now.

Well for his safety -- keep him away from Dr. Drew.


Comment by TriSec on 03/01/2013 17:29:41
Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 17:32:22
Quote by Mondobubba:
Hey Virginia peeps, give it up for Governor Vag Probe, he's granted Scooty Libby is voting rights!
I actually think this is a good thing. Personally, I think the only people that should permanently lose voting rights are those convicted of voter obstruction, voter fraud and violating voting rights.

I have to give the Governor credit here: "McDonnell has streamlined the process and, consequently, has restored the rights of more than 4,600 felons – more than any previous governor – with nearly a year still remaining in his term."



Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 18:23:43
Damn, Bonnie Franklin has passed.

Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 18:36:37
Abandon all hope.... We just lost Kerry's seat in Massachusetts.

I know -- it's the herald, but seriously?

Comment by TriSec on 03/01/2013 18:40:13
Blue Mass Group has a reasonably thought out analysis of the 3 GOP midgets running for the seat.

One of them is actually a Dem, he just hasn't figured it out yet.



Comment by Mondobubba on 03/01/2013 18:56:49
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Mondobubba:
Hey Virginia peeps, give it up for Governor Vag Probe, he's granted Scooty Libby is voting rights!
I actually think this is a good thing. Personally, I think the only people that should permanently lose voting rights are those convicted of voter obstruction, voter fraud and violating voting rights.

I have to give the Governor credit here: "McDonnell has streamlined the process and, consequently, has restored the rights of more than 4,600 felons – more than any previous governor – with nearly a year still remaining in his term."




I went with the Scooter Libby thing as grabber, but yeah, McDonald is doing a good thing in changing the way people get their voting rights back.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/01/2013 19:08:12
Comment by Scoopster on 03/01/2013 19:37:00


Jes' sayin'..

Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 19:46:35
Quote by Mondobubba:
POTUS has a nerd fail! Schay!
It is now safe to conclude that the Sequester is Obama's fault.


Comment by Raine on 03/01/2013 19:53:10
Quote by Mondobubba:
POTUS has a nerd fail! Schay!

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6k2suyi8l1r32dxoo1_500.jpg


Comment by Mondobubba on 03/01/2013 19:53:32
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Mondobubba:
POTUS has a nerd fail! Schay!
It is now safe to conclude that the Sequester is Obama's fault.



Schya! POTUS forgot hisch Inhaler of Persuasion +2.

Comment by Mondobubba on 03/01/2013 19:57:38
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Mondobubba:
POTUS has a nerd fail! Schay!

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m6k2suyi8l1r32dxoo1_500.jpg





Comment by Will in Chicago on 03/01/2013 20:14:02
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Mondobubba:
POTUS has a nerd fail! Schay!
It is now safe to conclude that the Sequester is Obama's fault.



Schya! POTUS forgot hisch Inhaler of Persuasion +2.



With the GOP, he might need an Inhaler of Persuasion +200 and a few miracles to get the GOP to move.

Still, I think when the layoffs and airport delays start, the President can discuss the GOP's intransigence. Whether the GOP will listen to any public outrage is uncertain.