Archive for the ‘government’ Category

Congress Is 0n Vacation. Like It Was All Year Long.

August 2, 2014

Congress Is On Vacation. Like It Was All Year Long.
The 113th Congress is taking a five-week recess after the exhausting labor of not passing hundreds of bills, and is among the least productive in history. Of course, Congress only spends three days a week in DC even when it is in session, spending the other four back home collecting campaign funds for the next election, a practice euphemistically called “meeting with constituents.” They’ll be back September 8th for a dozen workdays, then adjourn until after the election in November.

This Congress was so ineffective that even the protesters didn’t bother to show up.

 More:

“Congress jets to five-week recess,” Peter Sullivan, The Hill

“Congress Off for the Exits, but Few Cheer,” Jonathan Weisman and Ashley Parker, New York Times

“Congress continues its streak of passing few significant laws,” Drew DeSilver, Pew Research Center

“As Congress Breaks, Inaction Remains Most Notable Action,” David Welna, NPR

 “From Now Till Election, Congress to Make Itself Scarce,” Caitlin Huey-Burns, Real Clear Politics

“Jon Stewart blasts Congress for taking unearned vacation,” Joanna Rothkopf, Salon

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Better Health Care Through Astrology

July 26, 2014

Better Health Care Through Astrology

“A Conservative MP has spoken of his belief in astrology and his desire to incorporate it into medicine.

David Tredinnick said he had spent 20 years studying astrology and healthcare and was convinced it could work.

The MP for Bosworth, a member of the health committee and the science and technology committee, said he was not afraid of ridicule or abuse.

‘There is no logic in attacking something that has a proven track record,’ he told BBC News.

He said he had studied the Indian astrological system Iahiri and the way it was used by that country’s government and recalled how Chris Patten, Britain’s last governor of Hong Kong, had an official astrologer, whom Mr Tredinnick had consulted while on a parliamentary delegation there.”

– “Astrology-loving MP seeks health answers in the stars,” BBC News

More:

“Astrology-loving MP David Tredinnick ‘convinced’ practise can reduce strain on NHS,” Kashmira Gander, The Independent

“Combining astrology and healthcare: your medical horoscopes,” Dean Burnett, The Guardian

“Tory MP says astrology is good for the health,”  Laura Donnelly, The Telegraph

 Related:

“Tory MP David Tredinnick claimed £755 for astrology software,” Polly Curtis, The Guardian

Medical astrology,” from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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July 2, 1964: The Civil Rights Act Becomes Law

July 2, 2014

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964, 50 years ago. Bill Moyers reminisces above.

For a remarkable view of the legislation and a close look how it got that way, see NPR’s annotated Behind the Civil Rights Act.

Related:

“How the Civil Rights Act saved the South’s economy,” Danielle Kurtzleben, Vox

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July 2nd: Independence Day

July 2, 2014

July 2nd: Independence Day

The Second of July, 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival.” — John Adams

On July 2, 1776 the Second Continental Congress approved the resolution to declare the United Colonies a sovereign nation, independent of the British Empire.

More:

“Why July 2 is really America’s independence day,” Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

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US Government: ‘Eat More Pizza!’

February 17, 2014

US Government: 'Eat More Pizza!'

13 percent of Americans eat pizza each day (no, not the same 13 percent …). That’s a lot of people and lots of calories, saturated fat, and sodium, too.

And Uncle Sam helps. The USDA runs a “dairy checkoff program” though small assessments on milk sales to processors, raising hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The funds are turned over to Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI) to encourage public demand for dairy products. U.S. fluid milk consumption is down, but cheese eating is way up, and 25 percent of that cheese is melted on pizza.  DMI has a partnership with Domino’s Pizza, America’s 2nd largest retailer of pizza-like objects, and paid Domino’s $35 million over the past 3 years to develop and market cheesier pies.

Read about it here:

“How the U.S. government spends millions to get people to eat more pizza,” Brad Plumer, Washington Post blog

“USDA reports on pizza consumption and on dairy checkoff program initiatives to increase pizza demand,” Park Wilde, US Food Policy blog

(more…)

Canada Bans Marmite

January 25, 2014

Canada Bans Marmite

Canada has banned imports of Marmite – not because it’s made from British brewery waste, but because it’s artificially fortified with vitamins to back up dubious health claims, and food spreads in Canada aren’t allowed such fortification.

The stuff was imported by Brit Foods, a Canadian retailer specializing in British comestibles. The yeasty brown gunk is an iconic UK product, a cherished symbol of the Empire to which Canada once belonged. We have not been able to determine if the Marmite ban endangers Canada’s membership in the Commonwealth.

To avoid the appearance of favoritism in the upcoming independence referendum, Canada also banned imports of Scotland’s Irn-Bru, a ghastly orange-colored soft drink and symbol of modern Scottish identity. That color is supplied by Ponceau 4R, a pigment derived from coal tar which, unlike clubbing baby seals to death, is prohibited in the Great White North.

(more…)

Dr. King on the Roots of Economic Inequality

January 20, 2014

Dr. King on the Roots of Economic Eqality

Martin Luther King Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) planned a Poor People’s Campaign for May 1968 to demand jobs, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage, affordable housing, and education for poor adults and children, an Economic Bill of Rights. The effort was to involve poor people of all races from all parts of the country, urban and rural, but the historical roots of racial economic disparity could not be ignored:

(more…)

Nebraska, Our Nation’s Capital

January 9, 2014

Nebraska, Our Nation's Capital

Nebraska Republican Ben Sasse is running for the U.S. Senate. He wants to move the Capital of the United States from the District of Columbia to Nebraska.

Welcome to it, ‘Huskers! Here’s what Nebraska gets:

  • No vote in Congress, but you’ll pay taxes to the IRS anyway
  • Any political pissant from elsewhere can stop local elected officials from spending Nebraska state tax funds the way Nebraskans want
  • Tax-exempt institutions — including foreign embassies and the Federal government itself — will crowd taxpaying businesses and residents off valuable real estate
  • Commuters from neighboring states will take all your state’s good jobs, snarl traffic, rip up your streets and then complain about the potholes — but they won’t pay a dime of Nebraska taxes on the money they earn in Nebraska
  • Main Street will be shut down for motorcades at unexpected, inconvenient moments
  • Bollards will clutter every sidewalk, metal detectors and uniformed guards will block office building doors

And you know what else Nebraska will get, Mr. Sasse? No U.S. Senators!

Like other Nebraskans, Tea Party-lovin’ Ben Sasse is just regular “work-a-day folks” — if work-a-day folks went to Harvard and Yale, worked at the Boston Consulting Group, served as a DC bureaucrat for G.W. Bush, and over-extended a small Lutheran college so much that its accreditation is threatened.

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Rob Ford: Run Robbie Run!

January 2, 2014

Rob Ford: Run Robbie Run!

Mayor Rob Ford, the man who put Toronto on the map for most Yanks, is running for re-election. Toronto’s self-described “best mayor” dropped off his nomination papers at city hall early this morning:

“My track record speaks for itself. If you want to get personal, that’s fine. I’m sticking to my record, and talk is cheap. You’re going to see action like you’ve never seen before.”

– “Rob Ford, promising ‘Ford more years,’ registers to run for reelection,” Daniel Dale, Toronto Star

More:

“After scandal-plagued 2013, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford bids for re-election,” Ann Hui, The Globe and Mail

– GIF via Maclean’s.

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Top image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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US sells GM

December 10, 2013

US Sells GM

1953: GM President Charles Erwin Wilson tells the Senate Armed Services Committee “for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa.”

2009: The United States Government takes 60 percent ownership of General Motors, 912 million shares.

2012: GM buys back 200 million shares of its own stock from the government for $5.5 billion; company execs are now allowed to use corporate jets again.

June 2013: The U.S. Treasury sells off 30 million shares in GM.

December 2013: The Federal government sells off its remaining shares in General Motors, leaving taxpayers with a net $10.5 billion loss on the total $49.5 billion bailout.  The Canadian government still owns $4.2 billion in GM preferred shares and the United Auto Workers union owns $5.4 billion in GM stock.

Related:

“With The Government Gone, GM Can Now Start Paying Its Execs Big Bucks,” Aaron Foley, Jalopnik

“New study estimates the effect on the U.S. economy of successful restructuring of General Motors” (press release), Center for Automotive Research

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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