Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Washington Watch: Week 8

What Sequester?

Notice how we're not hearing much about the sequester anymore, although painful cuts are being made to homeless Veteran programs and active duty personnel tuition assistance. Fox News reports: (Yes, I am quoting FOX News.)
"Under a federal housing program that helps roughly 100,000 Americans, homeless and formerly homeless veterans will lose assistance due to the sequester. The program is run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and provides state grants to help veterans get housing.
Active duty military personnel also will feel the impact of sequestration.
The Army announced Friday that it will no longer accept applications for its Tuition Assistance program, which gives soldiers as much as $4,500 annually to take courses, at accredited schools, toward high school and college diplomas. Army officials could not give a specific amount on how much the cuts would save but said 201,000 soldiers used the program in fiscal 2012 at the cost of $373 million.
In addition, the Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard announced this week that their programs also have been suspended."

This Tent has Lots of Holes

What did make news this past week was the annual gathering of Republicans called CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee). I encourage everyone to visit this website just to see the speaker's list! Click above or paste:

Headliners included Marco Rubio, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, and Rand Paul.  Other featured speakers included folks like Donald Trump, Allen West, Jeb Bush, and Mitt Romney!

Funny....the Republican with the best chance of running a decent campaign in 2016 -- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie -- wasn't invited. Guess they're still mad about the Obama hug.

In a report for the Washington Post, Aaron Blake summarized the gathering in an article titled: Conservative gathering highlights split in Republican Party, saying:

"If there was any doubt about the huge amount of discord within the Republican Party, the three-day Conservative Political Action Conference should put it to rest.
The suburban Washington gathering of the most conservative elements of the GOP this week featured speaker after speaker picking fights with other Republicans and offering criticisms — sometimes indirect and often direct — of party figures such as Mitt Romney, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Karl Rove, former president George W. Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie."

Notice -- they criticized Romney and he was there! Why did he go? 

Failing Grades

Continuing their domination of the airwaves this week, the GOP announced the results of their postmortem on what went wrong in 2012. They concluded that they just might be out-of-touch with 'some' Americans. I think they are 'out-of-touch' with many Americans -- including Hispanics, African-Americans, Asians, Gays, Youth, Women, Workers, and Seniors. That's all.

They announced new outreach efforts to minority voters.

Hmmmm, didn't they try to disenfranchise them during the past election?

Looks like they will be putting up a fight for relevancy in the years to come. Maybe Christie won't look so bad after all.


President Obama's First Term
A Look Back at Week 8 - 2009: 

  • AIG Bonuses Anger Obama. Speaking to a group of small business owners, Obama contrasted their hard work with the greed and excess displayed in reports of tens of millions of dollars in bonuses being given out to employees of AIG, stating: “I've asked Secretary Geithner to use leverage and pursue every single legal avenue to block these bonuses,” President Obama made it clear that he was not happy with executive bonuses paid by the insurance conglomerate after receiving a massive bailout from the federal government.
  • The President Addresses Food Safety in America. Calling the nation's food safety system a “hazard to public health” the President created a special advisory group to coordinate food safety laws and recommend how to update them stating, “Many of these laws have not changed since they were written early in the last century.”  

  • Obama Gives Marching Orders for Federal Money. At the White House Conference on American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Implementation, he stressed that accountability will never fall by the wayside.The White House Recovery and Reinvestment Act Implementation Conference, led by Vice President Joe Biden, is part of a large effort to ensure that dollars invested and spent as part of the Recovery Act are effective, transparent, and efficient.

  • St. Patrick’s Day Meeting With Irish Prime Minister.President Obama met with Brian Cowen the Prime Minister of Ireland. The meeting was followed by the appointment of NFL Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney as United States Ambassador to Ireland.

  • First Presidential Visit to California. The popularity of the new President remains high as thousands of Southern Californians camp out for tickets to his town hall meeting in Costa Mesa and anxiously await his first official visit to California as President.


And, Finally....

Who says they can't get along? Guess it takes the 'luck of the Irish.'

President Barack Obama, Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Ireland, and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, talk together during a St. Patrick’s Day lunch at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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