Friday, April 8, 2011

Crisis averted!

Ho ho ho, dear readers,

Crisis averted! Huzzah! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! Go visit that national park you love and renew that passport, because you can! Probably. What happened before the government shutdown? How did we avoid assured disaster?  

At 11:20PM a stopgap resolution was passed after negotiations between Harry Reid, John Boehner, and President Obama

Negotiations yielded a proposed budget that would cut $38 billion out of the fiscal year

Fiscal year ends in about 6 months.

This will buy enough time to finalize the budget that was negotiated

Proposed budget will cut $38 billion this year

And cut $500 billion in the next decade

Planned Parenthood is safe, for now

EPA safe too

Funds for education programs kept

Pentagon gets $514 billion, a $5.3 billion increase! Score. The Pentagon can finally finish its dog shaped back pack holder. (It's so agile!) 

Watch out Defense, you're not free from the cuts

Foreign aid to be cut by $40 billion

This savings is to be kept under the presidential mattress in case of emergencies

So far, a budget hasn't been passed into law but one is on the way. There's more time to negotiate it thanks to the stopgap resolution that we weren't supposed to get. The government lives another day.

Government Shutdown Update

Good evening, 

I'm here to give you all the information I have on the government shutdown. The government will shut down if a budget is not passed. Without a budget, there is no way to fund the government and many of its services will stop. The last time this happened was in 1996 under the Clinton administration. This shutdown was led by Newt Gingrich, a current Senator and potential presidential candidate.

Why don't we have a budget?
The fiscal budget for 2011 was supposed to be passed in October, 2010

Harry Reid pulled the budget off the Senate floor, preventing a vote

Why. . .why would he do that?

        Left Leaning Opinion:    
Harry Reid faced a filibuster from Republicans in the senate that would have stalled other legislation

This would have wasted time in the Senate when other pressing issues needed to be dealt with

Instead of dealing with a filibuster that would have wasted valuable time, he pulled the budget from a vote

       Right Leaning Opinion:
Democrats had a majority in the Senate and could have passed the bill anyway

Harry Reid and President Obama failed as leaders to organize their party to vote

What have we been doing without a budget?
Congress has been passing "stop gap resolutions"

These resolutions have funded the government about 1-2 weeks at a time

The U.S. government has basically been given an allowance so it can go out on Friday nights and buy snacks at lunch

Why don't I get my allowance? You guys are the worst parents ever and I hate you. (Why aren't we passing any more resolutions?)

President Obama has promised to veto any new stopgap resolutions

This will force Congress to pass a budget by midnight tonight

At midnight tonight, the last stopgap resolution will stop funding the government

No more money for many government services, except those deemed essential

Papa Obama is putting his foot down

But what am I going to do without a budget!? I totally have stuff to buy and I need my allowance and I still hate you
(What happens if the government shuts down?)

The already fragile economy will take a huge hit and possibly fall into another recession

800,000 Federal workers that are considered nonessential will not receive their pay or they will be furloughed

Essential workers like soldiers and Postal Workers will have to work
Soldiers will get back pay or half a paycheck for the month, postal workers will most likely not be paid

Nonessential military personnel will not be paid

National parks, museums, and monuments will close

Passports and visas will not be processed

Small businesses contracted by the government will not receive their pay

Veterans' benefits and claims will be delayed

Garbage will not be collected in Washington D.C.

Loans for small businesses and homes will be halted

No processing of tax refunds 

What isn't affected?


Social Security still goes out

Congress men and women will still get paid
(wtf why: the government is bound by the Constitution to pay members of Congress)

Why haven't we passed a budget?

Riders on the bill have split Democrats and Republicans

The riders, if passed, will

  • defund Planned Parenthood
  • defund the Affordable Healthcare Act
  • defund the EPA
  • defund a program that subsidizes lunches for low income students
But. . .I love lunch.

Well, too bad. 

The most contentious issue at the moment is funding Planned Parenthood.

     Left Leaning Opinion:

Planned Parenthood provides vital health services to women, especially low income women

PP provides family planning services and provides birth control and contraception to the masses

The Hyde Amendment prevents any federal funding given to PP to be used for performing abortions

     Right Leaning Opinion:

Planned Parenthood performs abortions which are morally wrong

PP profits off of performing abortions

PP is the largest abortion provider in the U.S.

"Abortions account for 90% of Planned parenthood's service"
-Sen. John Kyl

Cutting funding to PP will be cutting spending and saving the government money

As of this moment, talks about a budget are still ongoing. There may be a three day resolution to temporarily avert a government shutdown. 

I'll keep you posted and update you throughout the night if crisis is averted or imminent. If there's anything you think I missed or need to know, leave a comment and I'll answer as soon as possible.

News on the budget:

What happens during government shutdown

Planned Parenthood and the Budget

Developing Shutdown

Dear everyone,

Hey, how are you? Good, great. So, the government might partially shutdown at midnight tonight. Last night, Obama said he expected word from Congress in the morning. That word is: "Well . . ." The government is still on track for a shutdown. I'll have the full write up around 5, since this story is still developing. Until then, here are the key players:

President Barack Obama

  • President of the United States
  • Potential Muslim/Immigrant/Terror hybrid sent to destroy the United States
  • Has a lot of street cred for smoking marijuana
  • Has promised to veto any short term budget solutions known as "stopgap resolutions" and "CRs" or "Continuing Resolutions" forcing Congress to pass a budget to avoid government shutdown
House Speaker John Boehner
  • Speaker of the House, the bigger chamber of Congress
    • Fun fact: The House of Representatives has 435 members, not including the "delegates" from American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and Guam who have no voting rights
  • Insists his name is pronounced "Bay-ner" not "Boner"
  • Cries on camera at least once a week
  • Republican from the 8th District of Ohio. 
  • Leader of the Republican majority in the House
Senate Majority LeaderHarry Reid

  • Majority Leader in the Senate, the small  chamber of Congress with 100 members
  • Democrat, from Nevada
  • Probably pretty good at poker
  • Pretty much has this attitude the entire work day (see picture above)
  • Decides which bills are presented in the Senate, thus setting the priority of bills as he sees fit
    • Will pull a bill off the floor of the Senate if it has no chance of passing or if it will be filibustered (held up with talking)
  • Was majority leader in October 2010 when the budget for this year should have been passed
    Representative Mike Pence 

    • Looks good in pictures
    • Original proponent of defunding Planned Parenthood
    • Still wants to defund it
    • Republican representative of Indiana's 6th District. 
    Obama, Reid, and Boehner have been discussing the budget and ways to avoid government shutdown. 

    The shutdown will occur if no budget is decided on and passed. 

    One of the biggest issues at this point is a rider on the budget bill that asks for the defunding of Planned Parenthood. 
             Riders are add-ons to bills that are often unrelated to the main word of the bill

    Republicans are adamant on defunding Planned Parenthood since it will cut spending. 

    Democrats believe it will do more harm than good by eliminating healthcare services for women across the country and only saves a small amount of money.

    I'll do my best to keep you updated.

    Thursday, April 7, 2011

    Government Shutdown!

    Approximately 29 hours until government shutdown, everyone!

     I'll have a full write-up tomorrow, but just so you know, if we don't get a budget by midnight on Friday lots of bad stuff will happen. That's a federal government shutdown, not state government.

    Brace yourselves. 

    Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Libya Mini-Update

    A middle of the week update is here! A small update on the Libya situation straight from Gaddafi himself! Today, Gaddafi sent a letter directly to President Obama. Here are some of the highlights. 

    Gadhafi misspelled Obama's name "Baraka Hussein Abu oumama"

    Qaddafi referred to Obama as "our son" and "excellency"

    Qaddaffi referred to himself as "Leader of the Revolution"

    He also wished  Obama good luck in the 2012 election. Gaddafi/Obama 2012 maybe?

    Gaddafi had an interesting take on the whole situation:

    "Our dear son, Excellency, Baraka Hussein Abu oumama, your intervention is the name of the U.S.A. is a must, so that Nato would withdraw finally from the Libyan affair"

    An unverified source says that Gaddafi then wrote: 

    "Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?"

    (EDIT) The unverified source was me and I lied. Gaddaffi didn't say that.

    This is not related to the letter but, Gaddafi gets his name spelled a different way in every article I read. Gadhafi. Qaddafi. Khadafi. Qaddaffi.

    It seems like all the missiles and airstrikes have scared Gaddafi to the point where he has thrown away all sense of reason and grammar to appeal to President Obama. I recommend just reading the article posted below for the full story. 

    Good luck out there and remember to proofread.


    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Wisconsin and Public Unions

    The Wisconsin Capitol building occupied by opponents of the bill

         Hello everyone. There's a few quick things to get through before getting into the story. These are the things you should know for this story:

    Governor Scott Walker: Governor of Wisconsin, Republican, strong supporter of bill, originally introduced bill

    David Koch: Billionaire, Conservative, industrialist who allegedly funds the Tea Party movement and certain conservative elected officials

    People affected by the Wisconsin Bill: Teachers, municipal workers, librarians, garbage collectors, university professors

    People not affected: Policemen, firefighters, state troopers

    Republicans in Wisconsin State legislature: 19

    Democrats in Wisconsin State legislature: 14
      And now, for Wisconsin news:

    Due to the deficit in Wisconsin, a budget repair bill was proposed by Gov. Scott Walker

    Bill includes provision that limits collective bargaining rights for some and completely eliminates them for others.

    This provision would prevent most state workers from negotiating their wages.

    Bill also proposes cutting wages of public workers while having them contribute to their pensions and healthcare plans.

    Public unions agree to wage cuts and contributing to benefits if they can keep collective bargaining rights.

    NO DEAL.

    To prevent the bill from passing, the 14 Democrats in the state legislature flee the state.

    One Democrat almost caught after arranging a "conjugal visit" with his wife.

    Public workers, students, and other supporters occupy capitol building in protest.

    Totally sweet drum circle ensues.

    Gov. Walker claims that layoffs will happen if Democrats don't return.

    Editor of Buffalo Beast Ian Murphy pretends to be David Koch and calls Walker.

     I'm sorry about the title of this video.

    "Koch" says after Walker "crushes the Democrat bastards" he'll fly him out to California for a good time.

    "Koch" says he'll plant troublemakers into the crowds of protesters. 

    Walker said he already thought of that. Great minds think alike.

    Republicans in Wisconsin pass the bill without Democrats.

    Open meeting laws require that laws are passed in areas open to the public and that there is public notice of the act.

    Passing of the bill violates open meeting laws?

    Court answers question above by preventing law from taking effect.

    Other states like Ohio plan to pass the same type of law.

    And there you have it. Wisconsin might stop public unions and other states are doing the same. The fate of the rights public workers is in the hands of the courts now.

    The following video was produced, filmed, and edited by two college students and their type of reporting is in line with the goals of this blog! So, here is their video.

    Power to limit unions

    Open Meeting Laws

    Collective Bargaining

    General Wisconsin Timeline and news

    Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Infrequent update about updates!

    Tomorrow will be a breakdown of the Wisconsin protests! U.S. news about labor unions, wages, and legislation. It is old news, but important news nonetheless.