Tag Archives: conference

Sequestration Madness

OK, I take it back.  A few weeks ago, I said “let sequestration happen”.  My logic…there’s no way D.C. politicians are EVER going to agree to cut the military by nearly 10%, and I’m willing to survive the pain of the other cuts, if we start to cut our ridiculous military spending.  My own agency, as all others funded by “discretionary” spending, would also take a big cut.  If it were all done wisely (don’t laugh), I do think there’s “fat” that can be trimmed from a lot of places in government.  Hence, my previous post that sequestration may not be such a bad thing.

I was wrong.

For one, I foolishly thought that sequestration could be done “wisely”.  Now that we are 3 days from sequestration becoming a reality, it’s becoming quite obvious how poorly prepared Federal agencies are to address the cuts.  Warnings of up to 22 days of furloughs are going out to Federal employees.  First…what does this solve?  If budgets are indeed cut by 8% or so, what does a furlough solve?  You’re cutting costs temporarily, but what happens at the start of the new fiscal year?  You still have a lowered budget, and are facing the same problem.  Are you going to furlough Federal employees one day a week for all of NEXT year as well?  If cuts are enacted, stop-gap measures such as cutting travel, cutting ALL scientific conference attendance (Ugh…gotta love cutting scientists off from contact with their colleagues or the public), and an ill-thought out furlough solve NOTHING for the long-term. 

DC politicians are continually kicking the can down the road instead of dealing with budget deficits.  It seems Federal agencies are following the same line of thinking, trying to patch together a last-minute set of short-term fixes to deal with what could end up being a permanent budget cut. 

Trying to manage a science project right now in the Federal government?  Next to impossible, given the complete uncertainty as to budgets or staffing.  Government CAN be very efficient and can provide wonderful services to the American people…if only the damn politicians would get out-of-the-way.

The “Real” Obama – Repubs, you have nothing to fear

Barack Obama

Barack Obama - Moderate Republican. At least that's a label that's been placed on him by multiple pundits. Republicans, you have nothing to fear. Obama isn't driving America over some "liberal cliff". As his comments on climate change today have shown, the man is a moderate in every sense of the word.

Over the last four years, there has been a lot of Republican speculation about the “real” Obama, this monster of a man who would soon emerge and lead the U.S. down the path of socialism.

Uh…no.  You have absolutely nothing to fear, Republicans.  Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Beast said as much when he went on the Colbert Report on the night of the election.  The Daily Beast runs towards the liberal side, but Sullivan is a self-professed conservative, albeit a conservative who was extremely unhappy where Republicans have taken the party.  As Sullivan stated, Republicans should be happy about the election…a “Moderate Republican” won.  He’s not the only one to say so.  William Saletan at Slate.com also ran a story the day after the election, saying Republicans should cheer up because they have a moderate Republican in office for the next four years…Barack Obama.

Democrats have certainly been disappointed in Obama on a number of issues.  Yes, he kept his first campaign promises on health care and on ending the wars.  But Obama also has failed to close Guantanamo, hasn’t addressed immigration reform, and has caved on a number of environmental issues.  During the campaign, the issue of climate change was notable…notably absent, that is, from any discussion during the campaign or during the debates.  During Obama’s victory speech on the night of the election, he gave a passing nod to the issue of climate change, noting the dangers of a warming planet.  That line got him a very loud ovation…but…climate change simply wasn’t much of an issue this election, even for Obama.

Yesterday during his press conference, Obama came out and said that climate change is NOT a priority for him, that it will take a back seat to the economy.   In the press conference, he stated that it’s important, that it’s a tough issue, but that it would take “tough political choices” for it to be addressed.

In other words…Obama is punting on climate change.  At this stage, I honestly don’t think it matters.  There’s no going back.  We’ve already set the wheels in motion for severe climate change.  Even if by some miracle there was a global epiphany and humanity decided to immediately cut back carbon emissions, climate change is going to march merrily ahead for the nest few centuries.

However, once again, Obama has disappointed liberals.  Once again, Obama is showing that Republican pundits’ comments that Obama is “the most liberal president in America’s history” are complete BS.   You have nothing to fear, Republicans.  Obama isn’t going to take the country down some radical liberal path.  He’s an obvious moderate…and even for a hard-core liberal like myself, I think that’s just what we need right now, someone who can straddle the fence and try to bridge the gap between the two “sides” the nation has seemingly split into.

Now…Republicans just have to join the real world, and see Obama for the true moderate that he is.

Pamela Geller – Scum of the Week

It seems like I’ve had a lot of “Scums of the week” lately.  What can I say, there’s a lot of people out there that deserve them.  Pamela Geller is one who richly deserves the award, and is someone you could probably give it to about every week.  THIS week’s Geller related issue is a “conference” organized in Detroit to ostensibly talk about a young Muslim woman who was murdered.  Given Geller’s attendance and the attendance of other anti-Islamic bigots, and it’s very clear the “conference” is yet another excuse for a bunch of redneck bigoted pigs to spout their hate.

Geller has a long history of anti-Islamic statements, many of which border on the downright bizarre.  Obama is a favorite target of hers, as she has said on countless occasions that we currently have a “Muslim in the White House”.  A sampling of some of Geller’s more disgusting quotes, from SourceWatch.org:

  • “Obama is a third worlder and a coward. He will do nothing but beat up on our friends to appease his Islamic overlords. All this is going down while Obama plays footsie at his nuclear nonsense campfire — sucking up to Iran’s enablers while beating up our allies.”
  • “It is well-known that Obama allegedly was involved with a crack whore in his youth. Very seedy stuff. Why aren’t [the media] pursuing that story? Find the ho, give her a show! Obama allegedly trafficked in some very deviant practices. Where’s the investigation? . . . Back in the early 80′s, there were only two reasons to travel to Pakistan. Jihad or drugs. I think he went for the drugs and came back with jihad.”
  • “Jews refuse to get on Obama’s Trains”. . . “Obama is pressuring Jews to “evacuate” from parts of Israel? And what Warsaw ghetto does the muhammadan [sic] president have in mind? I think I am gonna hurl. The Jews will not go. The Jews will not submit to this century’s nazis [sic] and Mansourian poser.”
  • (On the passage of health care): “The moochers and the looters, the crooks and degenerates voted at 1 am this morning to rip the constitution to shreds, to rape the American people and to nationalize medicine.”
  • Repeatedly accuses Obama of being a Muslim: Geller’s blog contains 267 posts tagged “Muslim in the White House?”
  • Geller claims that “devout Muslims should be prohibited from military service” because she believes that Adolf Hitler and Nazism were inspired by Islam.
  • In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Norway committed by Anders Breivik, she claimed that the young people killed were bound to become “leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate, who commit major violence against Norwegian natives including violent gang rapes, with impunity, and who live on the dole.”

A lovely woman.  What irks me about pieces of crap like Geller is how they rely on the HATE and bigotry of others to make money.  Hate is a big business in America, with an entire industry built around losers like Geller and the hatred they spew.

The MSNBC story I linked to above has some absolutely scary parts to it.  This line really struck me:

Although many Americans have never encountered a Muslim in person, about 43 percent questioned in a recent Gallup Poll said they felt at least “a little” prejudice against Muslims.

“Many Americans have never encountered a Muslim”?   I guarantee that most Americans have encountered a Muslim, but this line to me epitomizes how many Americans THINK about Islam, as if it’s some foreign religion with no place in America itself.  That ridiculous lead-in to this sentence is a perfect complement to the stat that 43% of Americans said they feel prejudice against Muslims.  OK, America, if you supposedly haven’t ever MET a Muslim…why the HELL do you feel “at least a little prejudice” against them!?!?

It’s no wonder that scum like Geller can thrive in America.  There are one hell of a lot of bigoted, small-minded Americans out there who just eat up the kind of crap that Geller spews.  Congrats Geller on the first of your “scum of the week” awards.

Tough Being in Government Right Now

Secret Service Agent Chaney and Palin

THIS is the "Top Story" on CNN? The Secret Service guy in the background, posting this on Facebook and saying at the time, he was "checking out" Sarah Palin?

Don’t get me wrong with the tone of this post.  The Secret Service / prostitution scandal is disgusting.  The story about the GSA and what they spent on their Las Vegas meeting was disgusting.  As representatives of the government both groups should have obviously known better.  There’s no doubt people have the right to be upset about those stories.

However, in the big scheme of things…are these stories that REALLY deserve to be at the top of the headlines for the past 2 weeks?  A bunch of guys visiting prostitutes?  Yes, not good, but not exactly something that’s a shocking story.  The GSA thing?  Disgusting, but in terms of money, it’s less than $1 million.  The point of this blog is that the media is SO focused on “gotcha” journalism, that the REALLY important stories are crowded out by what are, really, quite minor stories.

I go to CNN today, and at the time, the story at the VERY top was “Former Secret Service Agent Checked Out Palin”.  Really, CNN?  You couldn’t find anything better to have as your feature story this morning?  A former Secret Service agent posting on Facebook that he “checked out” Sarah Palin?   THIS is one of the top stories affecting Americans right now?

Oh, I get it, CNN, you’re milking this Secret Service thing for EVERY last drop.  But GMAB.  A SS guy posting on Facebook that he was “checking out” Sarah Palin?  OK, yes, the guy is an idiot for actually posting that on Facebook, but I’m not even sure it’s an “offense” worthy of any discipline to the man himself, much less a story that deserves the top headline on one of the leading “news” (hah!!) sites in the U.S.

One thing Republicans have done a completely MASTERFUL job of since the financial collapse…turning ALL of the attention away from corruption and greed on Wall Street, and focusing ALL of America’s hatred towards our very own government.  I’m in government.  I see the truly WONDERFUL work we do, many things that people just can’t live without, other things that truly enrich people’s lives.   But yet the entire political discussion in the U.S. right now seems to be focused on the evils of our government and just how fast we can whittle it away down to nothing.  Wall Street corruption?  Nobody blinks an eye anymore when a corrupt CEO gets paid $30 million a year.  But yet a SS guy “checks out” someone and it becomes the major news story of the day.

When I see “major” news stories like a SS guy checking out Palin, what crosses through my mind are folks like Paul Ryan, John Boehner, and Mitch McConnell, sitting back and LAUGHING at how they’ve hoodwinked America into believing government is the root of all evil.  All while they propose budgets that reduce services for those that need them, and funnel more money to their very rich benefactors.  Well played, Republicans…you’re getting EXACTLY what you want.  And, as always…the American public is too damned ignorant to pay attention.

Senate Priority – College Football Realignment

Mitch McConnell?  College Football?

Mitch McConnell? Should college football conference realignment be a high priority for the Republican minority leader?

The nation is trying to recover from the biggest economic collapse since the Great Depression. Unemployment stubbornly continues to hover around 9%….ironically, the same percentage as the current approval rating for Congress. The debt-reduction committee has one month to come up with a plan to cut the federal deficit. You would think improving the economy would be the highest priority for the Senate.

Silly you. This is the U.S. Senate we’re talking about!! While Obama has tried in vain to try to push through jobs legislation to get America working again, legislation the GOP has completed refused to even consider, several key members of the Senate, including minority leader Mitch McConnell have been spending their time on the MUCH more important issue of college football realignment.

OK, I’m as big of a college football fan as anyone, and will support my Nebraska Cornhuskers until the day I die. However “important” college football may be, I shudder to think of members of the U.S. Senate spending their time actively lobbying for their schools to get favorable treatment in conference realignment talks. Aren’t there more important issues for them to be worrying about right now? Even MORE importantly…the LAST thing I want is for Congress to interfere in college football!! CONGRESS SCREWS UP EVERYTHING THEY TOUCH!! THEY HAVE THE ANTI-MIDAS TOUCH!!! If McConnell and other members of Congress start interfering in college football, it won’t take long before college football is about as popular as watching bowling on TV.

What is always laughable to me is the self-perception these guys seem to have of themselves, versus how the general public views them. Given all the money and influence these bozos seem to have, I’m not exactly surprised someone with as bloated of an ego as McConnell would think he has a role to play in college football realignment. Senators McConnell, Rockefeller, and Manchin…get over yourselves. College sports will somehow survive without you throwing your weight around. Instead of worrying about whether Louisville or West Virginia will get into the Big 12 conference, how about actually engaging with Obama on his jobs creation bill? How about getting people working again before worrying about your alma mater?