Here we go again — another Monday morning here on California’s northern coast, facing a week ahead full of strange, wondrous and most-ugly shit from both inside and outside the noodle.
High overcast with the near-full moon a puffer-ed, white eyeball staring through the clouds and occasionally winking, as in ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge.’
Of course, the big story is Friday — the triggered idiot cuts will swing into effect if President Obama and the stagnant US Congress can’t get their act together in time, and a lot of carnage will pile up along side American’s personal roadway.
And, too, of course, last night was the Oscars. And, whoa, who would have thought just a few short years ago Ben Affleck would ever, ever be in this situation.
(Illustration found here).
Maybe it’s all Jennifer Garner’s fault.
Or maybe it was Michelle Obama dressed to the ‘Ts’ and ‘Qs.’
Who the frick knows, and who will care once the sun comes up.
And we wonder what will happen at sunrise on Friday?
The White House is reacting strongly, releasing a state-by-state detail of what will happen if some kind of agreement isn’t forthcoming, and the consequences thereof.
Impending horror: Unless Congress acts by March 1st, a series of automatic cuts â€” called the sequester â€” will take effect that threaten hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs, and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform,” read the White House report.
There’s a list of the states and the cuts at the ‘horror‘ link above.
In some circles, however, all the nervous hand-wringing and worry about what will happen Friday is much ado about nothing — an improved housing market, and hopefully a short ‘sequester.’
Via US News and World Report:
“This year’s federal budget is approximately $3.6 trillion and U.S. GDP is approximately $16 trillion, so the impact of $85 billion in cuts is minimal on a national level,” according to a Friday report from financial services firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods.
“The impact will probably be greater in the Washington, D.C. suburbs since these areas are home to several agencies, including the Pentagon and defense contractors.”
Bernard Baumohl, chief economist at The Economic Outlook Group agrees: “$85 billion is a trivial number considering the size of the U.S. economy.”
Despite all the fear-mongering about the impending disaster of deep spending cuts if Congress and the Obama administration can’t reach some accord, these days Americans have a case of “brinksmanship fatigue,” Baumohl says.
“Americans generally know how this is going to end,” he adds.
“Ultimately there’s going to be some kind of agreement if not at the last minute, shortly thereafter.”
Another major splash due also this week — and really hasn’t gotten the media attention it deserves — is the important case coming up Wednesday before the right-nobbed US Supreme Court, and the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. Justices could gut a necessary plank in everyday life in reviewing Shelby v. Holder.
From The Atlantic:
As a technical matter, the central question the justices have been asked to resolve in Shelby County is whether Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the “preclearance” provision which requires officials in certain jurisdictions to seek federal approval before any new election law may be imposed, is still a valid exercise of Congress’ power to enforce the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.
If the Court says no, one of the act’s most valuable shields will be destroyed, and millions of Americans of color in 16 states will immediately have less legal protection from racially tinged voter laws and redistricting efforts.
As a matter of timing, the Shelby County case comes to the Court less than one year after the justices narrowed the scope of Congressional power under the Commerce Clause even as a narrow majority upheld the Affordable Care Act.
In Shelby County, the justices are similarly being asked by conservative lawyers and local officials to overrule the judgment of Congress that the core of the Voting Rights Act continues to be necessary to protect the rights of minority voters.
That legislative judgment could hardly have been more clear: When the Act was last renewed in 2006 (the fourth such renewal since 1965), the margin was 390-22 in the House of Representatives and 98-0 in the Senate.
There are two paradoxes in play here.
The first is that while the Voting Rights Act has become more popular politically, it has become less popular among the growing legion of conservative ideologues, including the current majority at the Supreme Court…
The second paradox is that the very success of the act, the fact that it has been invoked so often to thwart so many discriminatory schemes and ruses, has given to its detractors a logically attractive argument: We don’t need it anymore.
It’s done what it was principally designed to do.
The problem with that argument is not only that it directly conflicts with the history of the past three years, but that it contradicts the other main argument being made by opponents of Section 5: There is so much voter discrimination in so many jurisdictions not covered by Section 5 that it is no long constitutional to enforce the preclearance provision only against covered jurisdictions.
And with the bat-shit crazy GOP, one does not ever let go of any kind of safety line. Shelby County is in Alabama — home of total nutjob Jeff Sessions, who wants to cut aid to the poorÂ in order to make them less dependent.
As manager of a liquor store, this recent studyÂ for me is either real bad, or maybe not so bad, orÂ Â just terribly sad.
On any given day in the United States, 18 percent of men and 11 percent of women drink more alcohol than federal guidelines recommend, according to a study that also found that 8 percent of men and 3 percent of women are full-fledged “heavy drinkers.”
That means the great majority of Americans stay within the advised limit of two drinks a day for men and one for women, according to the study that appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“And in fact, most adults don’t drink at all on any given day,” said lead author Patricia Guenther, a nutritionist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.
“But the fact remains that it is a significant public health problem that many people do drink to excess.”
As George Carlin used to say “Drink up Shriners!”
And most-finally this way-too-early morning — an assholeÂ is more than just a body part (not to be confused with Jeff Sessions):
A Bloods gang member was arrested after New Jersey police allegedly found 100 bags of heroin hidden in his anus, police said.
While Speight was being processed at police headquarters, he “was found to be in possession of 100 bags of heroin which were concealed in his anus and undetectable at the scene.”
Police said the heroin’s estimated street value was about $1,000 in New York City, and $2,000 in upstate New York, “where both subjects were traveling to.”
Pretty cheap weed, nowadays. The price of pot is falling, too many farms.
So this coming week should have some excitement in it — the weather being a cliff-hanger as it’s started raining outside as I get ready to depart for work.
A smell of rodent, maybe.