Friday, March 11, 2011
WASHINGTON -- Thursday night's massive earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami warnings that have alarmed U.S. coasts, seem likely to ignite a debate over a previously little-discussed subsection of the spending bills currently being debated in Congress.
The House full-year continuing resolution, which has not passed the Senate, would indeed make steep cuts to several programs and functions that would serve in a response to natural disasters (not just tsunamis) home and abroad. According to Sobien, the bill cuts $126 million from the budget of the NWS. Since, however, the cuts are being enacted over a six-month period (the length of the continuing resolution) as opposed to over the course of a full year, the effect would be roughly double.
As for NOAA, the House GOP cuts are even deeper. The House spending bill is roughly $450 million below the president's 2011 budget requests. The Senate Democratic bill would be $110 million below that request. The White House-allied Center for American Progress, argued that the House spending bill would actually cut $1.2 billion from the president's budget requests, likely by taking into account that the bill does not provide NOAA the funding increase requested for the Joint Polar Satellite System.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Arizona politics can be entertaining, if it wasn't so bloody tragic. Our state senate has succeeded in tackling one of the states most pressing problems: the lack of an official state firearm:
PHOENIX -- Cost to name the Cardinals stadium after the University of Phoenix? $154.5 million over 20 years.
Cost to Bank One -- now Chase -- for its name on the baseball stadium? $2.2 million a year until 2028.
And the cost to the Colt Manufacturing Co. to get the Arizona Senate to name one of its products the official state weapon? Priceless. Well, actually zero.
That, however, didn't keep the senators from voting 18-12 Tuesday to declares the Colt single action Army revolver. It joins such things as the official state tree, butterfly, gemstone and neckwear, the last being, of course, the bola tie.
But the move annoyed Sen. Adam Driggs, R-Phoenix, who pointed out that all of those other items are generic. This is the first time, he said, lawmakers would be endorsing a brand name.
"This is advertisement for Colt," he said. While the gun in question was first made in 1873, the company still sells versions.
"If the state is going to go in this direction, I think we should get the equivalent of naming rights," Driggs continued. He said Arizona, facing a $1.1 billion deficit next budget year, could use the cash.
As the state dismantles all our social services in the name of "fiscal responsibility", they don't even generate any revenue from this act. It's pure red meat for the right wing base. Arizona's state policy has become "more guns for everybody, anywhere they want to carry them".
Monday, March 7, 2011
Take the "budget" (please, in a Groucho voice). We don't have a "debt" or "deficit" problem; we have a revenue problem. You've already seen the graphs: the rich are getting the pie, and we're getting the crumbs. I mean "why the fornicate are you arguing about family planning when we need jobs" type of angry.
So I'm frustrated.
Because, in reality, it is getting worse. Slowly and steadily. The 'frog pot' analogy.
Somehow, I doubt that I'm going to "enjoy" the near future.