Thursday December 12, 2013
Archive - Jun 2013
The budget talks are foundering on a Republican demand that the federal government start predicting the deficit 30 years into the future. The immigration bill is hung up over Republican demands that the government achieve full control over the 1,969 mile border between the United States and Mexico. But the Obama administration's had some good news on its spying: Republicans are pretty comfortable with the federal government tracking our calls and mining our e-mails.
There is something about the start of a second presidential term that induces talk and speculation about the incumbent's eventual "legacy." Such notions are usually based on the president's accomplishments in the first term plus expectations -- or fears -- of what might yet come.
House Speaker John Boehner stopped by the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon to pitch a gathering of the National Association of Manufacturers on the Republicans' plans for jobs and growth.
"While my colleagues and I don't have a majority here in Washington," the speaker vowed, "we're going to continue to pursue our plan."
Or will they?
I love my monsters, sacred or straight up.
I'm not as fond of zombies as I am of vampires. Vampires are urbane shape-shifters, sophisticated, seductive and nattily dressed.
Unlike vampires, their undead brethren, zombies don't age well. Their muscle tone is shot. The rotting ghouls just groan and lumber about, except for the most highly evolved, who precede a meal with a succinct request: "Brains!"
Can a state do fracking right?
Can it use the new shale-gas drilling technology to deliver thousands of jobs, revive depressed industrial zones, spark new high-tech industries, feed state coffers -- and still not mess up its countryside, imperil water supplies and possibly release dangerous amounts of methane gases?
Last week the International Monetary Fund, whose normal role is that of stern disciplinarian to spendthrift governments, gave the United States some unusual advice.
"Lighten up," urged the fund. "Enjoy life! Seize the day!"
You don't need me to tell you, but it's a whole lot tougher leading a garage band than being a superstar. What you might not have known is just how much harder.
Republicans have an opportunity for a get-out-of-jail moment with the fastest-growing slice of the electorate, Hispanics.
An immigration bill is likely to pass the Senate by the end of the month. The size and shape of the measure and the tone of the debate will be framed by Republicans in the next 10 days.
Little victories in curbing health care costs can add up. In truth, they seem little only next to the titanic $2.6 trillion Americans spend a year on health care. So let us salute them.
Case in point, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (Medpac) proposes ending a ridiculously expensive practice: Medicare paying hospital outpatient departments vastly more than it does doctors providing the same routine service in their offices.