Archive for U.S. Congress – Page 3

"Any visit to Washington DC will prove" that Neanderthals did not vanish.

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evolution of gop smaller devolution devolved

Neanderthals are alive and well in Washington DC as you can see in this Los Angeles Times letter to the editor, one of the few places remaining where our voices matter:

Re "The human race is part Neanderthal," Jan. 30

Your article was very interesting except for one slight error: You state that about 30,000 years ago the Neanderthals mysteriously vanished except for some minuscule DNA that might still be around.

Wrong. Any visit to Washington will prove my point.

Please correct this.

Marvin Biers

Tarzana

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ENTIRE VIDEO- Pres. Obama on extending unemployment benefits: "Hope is contagious."

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obama speaks on extending unemployment benefits

Via UpTakeVideo:

President Obama says Americans who need an emergency extension of unemployment benefits are "not lazy" as some might want you to believe. He points to the case of Katherine Hackett who introduced him. As an unemployed mom of two military sons she keeps the heat down just to make ends meet as she looks for a job. Without unemployment benefits, it makes it harder for her to find a job.

I wish the video had included Katherine Hackett, who introduced the president, because she was so effective, exactly who Americans, especially Republicans, needed to hear from. One memorable quote was, "'I am not just sitting at home living the good life." Got that, GOP?

The full transcript can be found at WaPo. Here are some excerpts:

For the Americans who join me at the White House today and millions like them who were laid off in the recession through no fault of their own, unemployment insurance has been a vital economic lifeline.

For a lot of people it's the only source of income they've got to support their families while they look for a new job. These aren't folks who are just sitting back, waiting for things to happen. They're out there actively looking for work. They desperately want work. But although the economy has been growing, and we've been adding new jobs, the truth of the matter is, is that the financial crisis was so devastating that there's still a lot of people who are struggling, and in fact if we don't provide unemployment insurance, it makes it harder for them to find a job...

Katherine went on to say, I've applied to everything for which I'm possibly qualified, to no avail. I've worked hard all my life, paid taxes, voted, engaged in political discussion and made the ultimate sacrifice: My two sons serve in the U.S. military. Job loss is devastating, and if I could fix it myself, I would. I challenge any lawmaker to live without an income. (Laughter.) That's what Katherine said. It's hard. (Applause.)

So when we've got the mom of two of our troops who is working hard out there but is having to wear a coat inside the house, we've got a problem, and it's one that can be fixed.

And Katherine's not alone. Develyn Smith (sp), who's watching today from her home in California wrote me about her hunt for a new job. Since she was laid off 13 months ago, she's sent out hundreds of resumes, she's volunteered, she's done seasonal work, she doesn't want to just be sitting around the house. She's been taking online courses to learn new skills. Without unemployment insurance, though, she won't be able to pay for her car or her cell phone, which makes the job hunt that much harder...

Now, two weeks ago Congress went home for the holidays and let this lifeline expire for 1.3 million Americans. If this doesn't get fixed, it will hurt about 14 million Americans over the course of this year -- 5 million workers along with 9 million of their family members, their spouses, their kids.

Now, I've heard the argument that says extending unemployment insurance will somehow hurt the unemployed because it saps their motivation to get a new job. I -- I really want to -- I want to go at this for a second. ... (applause) -- that really sells the American people short. I meet a lot of people as president of the United States and as a candidate for president of the United States and as a U.S. senator and as a state senator. I -- I meet a lot of people. And I can't -- I can't name a time where I met an American who would rather have an unemployment check than the pride of having a job. (Applause.)...

Katherine, in the letter that she wrote to me, said, do folks really think that cutting this benefit will make someone hire me? I mean, that's not how employers are thinking...

Voting for unemployment insurance helps people and creates jobs. And voting against it does not. Congress should pass this bipartisan plan right away and I will sign it right away. And more than 1 million Americans across the country will feel a little hope right away. And hope is contagious...

You know, when I was listening to Katherine, I was just so struck by her strength and dignity, and I think people, when they bump into some tough times like Katherine, they're not looking for pity; they just want a shot.

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Jobless, aidless, homeless v. the wealthy who live in homes with moats, Botox rooms

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makers takers Luckovich cartoon workers joblessVia Mike Lukovich, amuniversal

In the past couple of days, the Los Angeles Times letters to the editor about the jobless and homeless knocked it out of the park. I'm sharing a few samples, because our voices matter:

Re "222,000 in state to lose jobless aid," Dec. 25

So, Republicans like Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky claim that funding extended unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless would hurt their chances of getting hired.

By that logic, it would necessarily follow that the homeless should not be given rent subsidies for an apartment because it would hinder them from buying a house someday.

I get it now.

Jerry Lasnik

Thousand Oaks

***

"222,000 in state to lose jobless aid" — that was the headline I saw Christmas morning, and it totally ended the joy that day should have brought.

I hope Santa had 535 lumps of coal for each voting member of Congress.

David Mathews

Downey

That was just in California. Nationwide, the number of those who will no longer receive unemployment benefits skyrockets to 1.3 million. Did I mention that Congress members-- who are paid $174,000 a year-- are taking a holiday break (yes, another one) to rest from all the work they didn't do?

And we all know what unemployment can lead to, right? If you answered "homelessness," you would be correct. And as so many American families struggle to eat and stay alive, the very, very wealthy struggle to come up with ways to keep up with the over-the-top Joneses by outdoing one another with preposterously showy novelty perks.

There is no link to the following letters, because, true to form, The L.A. Times failed to post these online. I transcribed these from my morning paper and added a link that is a MUST-read:

Re "Union Station's homeless," Editorial, Dec. 25

Once again we read on this Christmas Day that the business community-- in this instance, aided by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority-- finds no room for the desperately poor at Union Station.

One way to justify keeping the homeless at bay is to perpetuate blatant stereotypes, exemplified by the oft-repeated phrase "aggressive panhandling."  Both words are extremely negative and imply that people asking for charity are not only "bums" but that their actions, as the word "aggressive" conveys, border on violence.

When our favorite nonprofit organizations beg for our money, we call it intensive fundraising and assume it to be normal and expected, even when we are "aggressively" bombarded with stacks of nuisance letters and phone calls-- something no person without a home has ever done to me.

I suspect The Times was being ironic when it mentioned that only 4,000 shelter beds are available each night for Los Angeles County's more than 57,000 homeless, and then that outreach workers should encourage people at Union Station to seek out Shelters.

Douglas J. Miller

Santa Barbara

***

On Christmas Day, an article in the Business section reported on houses built with moats and other luxuries selling for as much as $50 million.

In the same paper, The Times editorialized on the homeless in Union Station. The editorial noted that there are 57,000 homeless in L.A. and only 4,000 beds to serve them.

Something is seriously wrong.

Jan Goldsmith

Sherman Oaks

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Open your eyes, voters-- U.S. Attorney: “We’re OK now but at some point that will cease to be true.”

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open your eyes smaller

Crackerjack move, Republicans, keep it up. Continue to reveal what true geniuses you are. See, by slashing federal jobs, by cutting resources needed to litigate important matters that affect all of us, you're allowing bad guys to skate. America first! Go GOP!

Then again, since when have Republicans worried about the commission of financial crimes (or war crimes, for that matter)? In fact, this situation, in and of itself, is a crime.

Via Bloomberg:

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said a federal hiring freeze is threatening his office’s ability to carry out its job of prosecuting financial and other crimes.

People are going to get away,” Bharara said today at a Practising Law Institute event in New York. “We’re OK now but at some point that will cease to be true.”

Other governmental departments and offices have faced financial constraints as a result of federal budget cuts known as sequestration. Bharara said he’s not able to replace prosecutors who leave through normal attrition.

When do voters open their eyes widely enough to notice that the GOP is and has been terrible for this country? Between...

  • limiting the ability to prosecute crimes,
  • limiting women's (and everyone else's) ability to get health care,
  • limiting Americans' ability to vote,
  • limiting the little guys' ability to fight corporations,
  • limiting immigrants' ability to make it here and contribute to the nation and its economy,
  • limiting the LGBT community's ability to acquire the same rights and protections as the straight community,
  • limiting children's ability to get a decent public education,
  • limiting families' ability to eat,
  • limiting workers' ability to join unions and collectively bargain for workplace rights,
  • limiting all our ability to generally attain equal rights and equal pay,
  • limiting the president's ability to simply get his cabinet and judicial nominees through...

...between all of that, self-serving, shortsighted Republicans have shown that they are intent on destroying everyone and everything except the things that benefit them directly.

Open. Your. Eyes. America! Vote Democratic in 2014.

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Eric Cantor's 2014 House schedule allows for even MORE time off

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maynard g. krebs work

Here's what I wrote in 2012: Republicans control the calendar in the House of Representatives. They're cutting back their work schedule. Again.

And this: 113th Congress: Work?!

Then earlier this year I wrote this: Sequester schmequester: House GOP votes to recess for the week. Senate, too.

Here's what I wrote a few days ago: VIDEO-- Why everybody would like to be a member of Congress: Lots and lots of time off. Lots.

Here is what the calendar for the first session of the 133th Congress looked like:

congress calendar

And now, unbelievably, it's getting worse. Eric Cantor just released the House calendar for 2014:

House calendar 2014

Roll Call:

The House is scheduled to be in session 113 days in 2014.

This schedule is:

  • laughable
  • disconcerting
  • embarrassing
  • bewildering
  • ridiculous
  • outrageous
  • contemptible
  • self-serving
  • obscene
  • aw-w-wkward!

Feel free to add to the list.

Are Republicans trying to lose more voter confidence? Then again, with less time at work, there's less time to obstruct. Meantime, they can keep using their trusty town hall mob scenes meetings to spread their lies and make their threats.

Here's why I feel the way I do:

chart bills passed by Congress thru 2012 worst GOP fail

...and dropping.

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VIDEO-- Why everybody would like to be a member of Congress: Lots and lots of time off. Lots.

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maynard g. krebs work

congress calendarLink

Back in November 2012, I posted 113th Congress: Work?! It included this segment from The Rachel Maddow Show:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Then in February 2013, I posted Sequester schmequester: House GOP votes to recess for the week. Senate, too.

Now here we are, nearly exactly a year after my "Work?!" post, and, coincidentally, there is another Rachel Maddow video to share:

Rachel Maddow:

Nice deal right? ... That kind of a schedule and a six-figure salary for doing it? That's a combination that is impossible not to love.

More vacation... that's their big plan.

And now the GOP is thinking of cancelling more days again. During this session. Again. They're only working 19 more days this year, see, because, see, they can't figure out a way to "fill their agenda." No, I'm not kidding, watch the video.

They had time for a government shutdown, but no time to work on immigration reform. Make that, "no time to work," period. They are on track to be the most unproductive Congress in history.

chart bills passed by Congress thru 2012 worst GOP fail

Since John Boehner became Speaker, the House has accomplished nothing.

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If GOP wins lawsuit, #Obamacare falls apart in 36 states

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up up and oy vey

Heavy sigh:

Los Angeles Times: The Affordable Care Act proposes to make health insurance affordable to millions of low-income Americans by offering them tax credits to help cover the cost. To receive the credit, the law twice says they must buy insurance "through an exchange established by the state."

But 36 states have decided against opening exchanges for now. Although the law permits the federal government to open exchanges instead, it does not say tax credits may be given to those who buy insurance through a federally run exchange.

Apparently no one noticed this when the long and complicated bill worked its way through the House and Senate. Last year, however, the Internal Revenue Service tried to remedy it by putting out a regulation that redefined "exchange" to include a "federally facilitated exchange." This is "consistent with the language, purpose and structure … of the act as a whole," the Treasury Department said.

oy

Of course, the president's usual opponents are all over this and have filed four lawsuits. They salivate over anything that so much as hints at the demise of Obamacare and insist that the Obama administration abide by the strict wording of the law, "even if doing so dismantles it in nearly two-thirds of the states." Of course they do.

And as long as the House is under Republicans control, no way can the Obama administration fix this by suggesting that Congress legislate, well, anything.

And just as worrisome, one U.S. District Judge, a Clinton appointee, won't dismiss the suit and said he'd issue a written ruling.

oy oy

No judge has ruled directly on whether the IRS rule is illegal and contradicted by the health care law. Other judges in other states are considering similar suits, and if any of them rule in favor of the Obama(care) haters, the ACA could be put on hold until all the legal issues are ironed out. In fact, it could eventually end up in the Supreme Court.

oy oy oy

Stay tuned.

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