Richard Cordray, President Obama's choice to head the new consumer financial protection bureau, came to Capitol Hill for his confirmation hearings on Tuesday. And, by all accounts, even Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee were impressed. Via ABC News: He appeared to be liked personally by [Ranking Minority member Richard] Shelby and Bob Corker of Tennessee, the other Republican at the committee confirmation hearing.
I've now heard two anecdotal instances of people receiving this chain email: Subject: FW: Driver beware National Gang Week is starting: This is their new target method while driving on any roads, If you see a baby car seat sitting on the side of the road DO NOT STOP!!!! These are gangs targeting people, especially women, to stop their vehicle to help a baby. They make this baby look as if it has blood on itself or on its clothes, when you get out of your vehicle in attempt to help, the gangs jump out from cornfields or tall bushes.
Jerry and Helen Peterson are a married couple in East Orange, New Jersey, earning $252,000 per year. Jerry, a CPA, and Helen, a public relations executive, understand the need to close the deficit, but don't understand why their taxes have to go up. “I don’t feel rich,” says Jerry, as Helen frowns the worried frown of a woman who has been singled out by the Obama administration for brutal economic reprisal of the sort Stalin imposed upon prosperous peasants. Jerry and Helen are not real people.
While some parts of the South are dealing with (or bracing for) record floods, others are anticipating another kind of flood: a flood of cicadas. A brood that emerges every 13 years started appearing late last month in southern Alabama, and the insects have since appeared in Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and a number of other southeastern states. The cicadas will mate with each other en masse before dying, which frankly seems like a pretty hasty end after 13 years underground. But why every 13 years (or, with some other species, 17 years)?
All day Friday, there were two big, conflicting narratives floating around Capitol Hill about why there wasn’t yet a budget deal to keep the government open for the rest of the fiscal year. The Republican story: We’re still bickering over how much spending to cut. And the Democratic version: False! Both sides have basically agreed on an amount to cut—somewhere in the vicinity of $38 billion. The only holdup is that Republicans still want to slash federal funds for Planned Parenthood, and that’s an absolute no-go for us Dems. Someone had to be lying, right? But who?
[Guest post by James Downie:] Like Jon, I have a hard time connecting right-wing rhetoric to the shooting in Tucson. Yes, the half-term governor of Alaska and Murdoch’s propaganda machine have contributed more than the left to a “climate of hate.” But to tie that climate to Loughner, one has to resort to assumptions, without a direct connection, which have allowed conservatives room to claim innocence.
Continental Divide: Heidegger, Cassirer, Davos By Peter E. Gordon (Harvard University Press, 426 pp., $39.95) I. The Swiss town of Davos was once famed as a sanatorium. It provided pastoral balm for mental breakdown (Ernst Ludwig Kirchner), relief from chronic illness (Aby Warburg), and an Alpine antidote to tuberculosis (Robert Louis Stevenson finished Treasure Island there). This concentration of ailing artists and intellectuals produced its own distinctive cultural life, immortalized by Thomas Mann in 1924 in The Magic Mountain.
There’s been a lot of talk about state budget woes across the country as impacted by the Great Recession.
We’ve all heard that Democrats are in for a very difficult two years. The new GOP majority in the House of Representatives will wage a campaign to disable health reform, financial regulation, and the EPA; stonewall executive and judicial appointments; slash nondefense discretionary spending (thus undermining the economic recovery); gut Social Security and Medicare; and launch investigations into every possible White House indiscretion—potentially leading to a vote for impeachment.
Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen takes to the Wall Street Journal editorial page on Thursday to attack health care reform. Bredesen has been critical of the Affordable Care Act for a while. This latest missive suggests that the law is a bad deal because it gives employers incentive to drop health insurance coverage. It’s a claim a lot of critics are making, particularly after reports that some employers might be scaling back coverage in anticipation of reform. But those reports have mostly turned out to be false or misleading.