Saturday, November 9, 2013

Saturday Clips of the Week

In case these cold, dark November days have you a bit down, this week's Saturday Clips of the Week are an inoculation of hilarity from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Power of the Vote

Today is an election day.

It's one of those off years elections that many people across America will pass over. But in Virginia the day will end with a new governor, and the city of Boston will have it's first new mayor in 20 years. Today is an exhibition of the single most extraordinary function of our government. At all levels of government we are preparing to execute a peaceful transition of power based solely on the direct votes of the majority of constituents in the given city, state, or district.

But lately the right to vote has come under serious fire. The largest blow came six months ago when the Supreme Court struck down the central part of the historic Voting Rights Act citing a changed country where historical discrimination was apparently no longer relevant. But this law was not some antiquated notion. The Voting Rights Act was overwhelmingly reauthorized in 2006 by a bipartisan vote of 390-33 in the House and 98-0 in the Senate. The elected officials of this country regardless of party made a clear decision that the Voting Rights Act was right and good. And yet the Supreme Court, struck down these valuable protections.

Monday, November 4, 2013

GOP Platform: No New Compromises

As budget talks begin to unfold, multiple Representatives and Senators are saying a so called "Grand Bargain," is off the table in the unfolding budget negotiations. In theory, the Grand Bargain would cut entitlements for revenue increases. In practice, it would effectively rob the American people of money they paid into a system and maybe, though most likely not, raise revenue slightly on high income earners. Why is the Grand Bargain off the table? Because it requires very small concessions from a hardline GOP representation in the form of closing tax loopholes. Not raising tax rates, just closing loopholes.

Instead, because of the current war within the Republican Party, hopes are simply that something will pass to have the government not close again in January and not default in February. There is, however, no real clarity on what can pass. Many Republicans still hold tighter to anti-tax pinkie promises than they do to reality. This would include blocking Senate Democratic proposed legislation to close tax-loopholes that give unfair advantages to wealthy corporations. When asked about closing these loopholes, a house Republican aide said, "Revenues are a nonstarter in the House." That's right. Treating the wealthy the same as everyone else in this country by closing loopholes is a nonstarter in the House.