Monday, February 04, 2013

Jerry and Joe


Fun game. Only saw the 2nd half, but apparently that was enough. Now to deal with The City that has a sad.

Some stories:

Tax Loopholes May Be Next, Obama Says
President Obama said in a televised interview on Sunday that he could foresee a budget deal in Congress that did not include further increases in tax rates but instead focused on eliminating loopholes and deductions...Republicans, having acquiesced to the tax increase in the year-end budget deal, are now insisting that further deficit reduction must come through spending cuts. Budget experts say that to raise substantial revenue through loopholes and deductions, lawmakers would have to focus on deductions on mortgage interest payments and charitable donations.

A Million Jobs at Stake
From the armed forces to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, every program except for most safety-net benefits is about to be cut by an arbitrary process known as the sequester, instigated by the 2011 Republican rampage against government. Over the next seven months alone, the cuts will reduce defense spending by $55 billion and nondefense discretionary spending by $27 billion. The Bipartisan Policy Center, a respected independent group, said at least a million jobs will be lost this year and next because of the slowdown caused by withdrawing so much money from the economy. The Congressional Budget Office says up to 1.4 million jobs are at stake.

Study: The U.S. has had one mass shooting per month since 2009
o how much do we actually know about mass shootings and the people who commit them? A new study(pdf) commissioned by Mayors Against Illegal Violence* tries to add some much-needed detail. The researchers pored through the FBI database and recent media reports for every mass shooting since January 2009 — that is, incidents in which at least four people were murdered by guns. Here are their key takeaways, some of them surprising:

Rove's Crossroads starts Republican group to take out Tea Party candidates
The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate....The effort would put a new twist on the Republican-vs.-Republican warfare that has consumed the party’s primary races in recent years. In effect, the establishment is taking steps to fight back against Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that have wielded significant influence in backing candidates who ultimately lost seats to Democrats in the general election.

Crossroads effort mocked on right
Both the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund – two of the most prominent groups that have boosted candidates on the right – mocked the new initiative as yet another hapless establishment-side attempt to muzzle the GOP base. Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, branded it the “Conservative Defeat Project.”

Gerrymandering is not what’s wrong with American politics
It would be nice if this view were true, because it would suggest a clear solution to our polarized politics: draw more competitive districts. But unfortunately it is not true. The most important influence on how members of Congress vote is not their constituents, but their party. This makes them out-of-step not only with the average American — the “broad-based public opinion” that Obama mentioned — but also, and ironically, with even their base. Members are more partisan than even voters in their party.

Who Needs to Win to Win?
In the face of the disproportionate power wielded in our system by white, rural, conservative voters, one might expect a strong wave of support for political reform to make the system better reflect the majority. Instead the prevailing currents have run in the opposite direction, with Republicans erecting new bulwarks to protect themselves from the threat of a hostile majority.

California's Vast Oil Reserve May Now Be Within Reach, and Battle Heats Up
Comprising two-thirds of the United States’s total estimated shale oil reserves and covering 1,750 square miles from Southern to Central California, the Monterey Shale could turn California into the nation’s top oil-producing state and yield the kind of riches that far smaller shale oil deposits have showered on North Dakota and Texas....The Monterey Shale has also galvanized California’s powerful environmental groups. They are pressing the state to strictly regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the drilling technique that has fueled the shale oil and gas boom elsewhere but has drawn opposition from many environmentalists.

Land Battles Rise as U.S. Eyes 450,000 Miles of New Pipe
With the gas industry estimating that 450,000 miles of pipelines need to be built in the next 25 years, a distance to the moon and almost back to earth, conflicts will multiply over eminent domain, or the legal power to condemn private property. Land owners increasingly are pit against private businesses in state legislatures and courts as the U.S. confronts the new transmission lines, pipelines and compressor stations needed to reduce oil imports and produce clean energy at home. Lines between pro-green energy Democrats and pro-economic development Republicans can blur as farmers and ranchers object to being handed lease agreements and a pen, with little room to negotiate.