Monday, March 04, 2013

Game One


McCovey Cove, Game One of the World Series. Soooo many baseball pictures to process... among all the others. I could spend a month or two, I really could.

Wish I had some good news to report. There is a little bit of justice at the end. But first...

Meet the people hurt by the sequester: The homeless and the hungry children. Seniors and veterans, too.
"Unless a deal is reached to change the course of the cuts, housing programs would be hit particularly hard, with about 125,000 individuals and families put at risk of becoming homeless, the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated. An additional 100,000 formerly homeless people might be removed from emergency shelters or other housing arrangements because of the cuts, the agency said.... Other programs that assist low-income families face similarly significant cuts, including one that delivers hot meals to the elderly and another that helps pregnant women. Policy experts are particularly concerned about cuts to the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children known as WIC, which provides food and baby formula for at-risk families."

While the rich are still getting richer: A golden age for corporate profits
“So far in this recovery, corporations have captured an unusually high share of the income gains,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The U.S. corporate sector is in a lot better health than the overall economy. And until we get a full recovery in the labor market, this will persist.” The result has been a golden age for corporate profits, especially among multinational giants that are also benefiting from faster growth in emerging economies like China and India.

The final sequester breakdown can be found here.

Ezra watches a Republican move the goal posts in real time. A must-read that shows the GOP will obstruct, no matter what is offered:
"Recall what Chait said would happen if the Republican legislator in my column was forced to react to the fact that Obama has endorsed chained CPI: “He would come up with something – the cuts aren’t real, or the taxes are awful, or they can’t trust Obama to carry them out, or something.” Check, check, and check. Which is all to say that there’s no deal here. A few tweets later, Murphy gave his bottom-line view, which is that if Obama wants a deal, he needs to drop all of his demands and just agree to what the GOP wants to do."

No hostage on the 27th? Really? House GOP to pass funding through the end of the year:
"The House plans to vote Thursday on a spending measure that would keep the government running after its current funding mechanism elapses March 27. It would provide funding through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, allowing new flexibility to the Pentagon to manage the $40 billion hit the military took Friday but otherwise locking in the sequester’s lower spending levels."

Paul Krugman picks up on the Rick Scott privatization of Medicaid gambit (that I mentioned a few weeks ago.)
"Don’t tell me about free markets. This is all about spending taxpayer money, and the question is whether that money should be spent directly to help people or run through a set of private middlemen. And despite some feeble claims to the contrary, privatizing Medicaid will end up requiring more, not less, government spending, because there’s overwhelming evidence that Medicaid is much cheaper than private insurance."

Election? What election? Ryan budget will turn Medicare into a vouchers:
Ryan's approach would transform the benefits program into one that would provide a fixed amount of money in a voucher that future seniors could apply to the cost of buying private health insurance or to buying coverage through traditional Medicare. Throughout last year's presidential campaign, the GOP promised not to change Medicare for today's seniors — only the next generation. But Republicans familiar with the number-crunching in Ryan's budget committee say balancing the budget may not be possible unless the changes start for those who are now 56 and younger.

Koch smiles. The BLS will stop tracking green jobs thanks to the teaquester:
The cuts disappointed clean-energy advocates who say wind, solar and other renewable-energy industries are among the fastest-growing in the U.S. The department released its first industry survey in 2012, finding at least 3.1 million Americans had green jobs. “It’s a huge loss,” said Bracken Hendricks, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who wrote a book on green energy. “This means the U.S. will be flying blind on the growth of a very, very important sector in the U.S. economy.”

And climate change truth is buried in South Carolina. An under-reported story:
Despite detailing major risks to vital state industries and natural resources, the document was never released after its completion in 2011. reports that it recently “obtained” a copy but that it otherwise remains unavailable to the public. While the previous head of DNR, John Frampton, reportedly wanted to release the document for public review, he retired suddenly before the release occurred, after what he claimed was pressure to resign from an administrative appointee of Governor Nikki Haley.

Green sequester cuts, greeting the new Energy and EPA cabinet picks. From Morning Energy:
DOE’s energy programs will see 5 percent cuts totaling $503 million. Nearly half of that — $245 million — comes from the Office of Science. The second biggest hit is to DOE’s energy efficiency and renewable energy program, $91 million... EPA loses $472 million. The biggest chunks are $210 million from state and tribal assistance grants and $135 million from environmental programs and management. The agency's inspector general loses $2 million. Interior loses $204 million. More on the cuts to energy and environmental protection here.

But maybe we will win in the end. It just takes a while. Ask John Lewis:
An Alabama police chief brought Rep. John Lewis to tears Saturday, apologizing to the noted civil rights leader for failing to protect the Freedom Riders during a trip to Montgomery in 1961. Lewis and fellow civil rights activists were beaten by a mob after arriving at Montgomery's Greyhound station in May 1961. On Saturday at ceremony at First Baptist Church, the city's current police chief, Kevin Murphy, apologized to Lewis and offered him his badge in a gesture of reconciliation, telling the longtime Georgia congressman that Montgomery police had "enforced unjust laws" in failing to protect the Freedom Riders more than five decades ago.

Great video. "We didn't give up."

Keep hope alive.