Republicans accede to Obama’s wishes.

In a stunning reversal, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky just announced his support for a moratorium on earmarks – something President Obama has pushed hard for. To be fair, Tea Party supporters had fallen in line with Obama on this issue, even to the point they co-opted it during the last campaign. But mainstream Republicans had previously balked at the idea. From the Associated Press:

McConnell, a 26-year veteran of the Senate and longtime member of the Appropriations Committee, had argued in the past that banning earmarks would shift too much power to President Barack Obama and wouldn’t save taxpayers any money.

“I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don’t apologize for them,” he said. “But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight.”

Obama, who endorsed a crackdown on earmarks on Saturday, praised McConnell’s move.

“We can’t stop with earmarks as they represent only part of the problem,” Obama said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Democrats and Republicans to not only end earmark spending, but to find other ways to bring down our deficits for our children.”

So it seems the President and the American people might actually get what they want – for once. And that certainly would be change we can believe in…


Red-tape making more people see red.

There’s been an 18 percent increase in the number of threats against judges who hear Social Security disability cases this past year; at least 80 threats to kill or harm administrative law judges or staff. Those are startling statistics. The question is: Why? And there doesn’t seem to be an easy answer.

Things are getting rough out there. From the Associated Press:

One claimant in Albuquerque, N.M., called his congressman’s office to say he was going to “take his guns and shoot employees” in the Social Security hearing office. In Eugene, Ore., a man who was denied benefits said he is “ready to join the Taliban and hurt some people.” Another claimant denied benefits told a judge in Greenville, S.C., that he was a sniper in the military and “would go take care of the problem.”

“I’m not sure the number is as significant as the kind of threats being made,” said Randall Frye, a judge based in Charlotte, N.C., and the president of the judges’ union. “There seem to be more threats of serious bodily harm, not only to the judge but to the judge’s family.”

Of course, those on both sides of the political spectrum are blaming each other, but I don’t know about this one.

Hypothesis proved. Well, at least to my satisfaction…

We all know that dark energy works against gravity, pulling matter apart. We didn’t know, until now, that dark energy has weakened. Well, at least in comparison to its level of strength when the universe was young. Astronomers believe this is true based on observations of a new dark matter map. From Space.com:

The dark matter map was created with observations from the Hubble  telescope of a large galaxy cluster called Abell 1689, located 2.2 billion light-years from Earth. This cluster is famous as a stunning example of gravitational lensing – a phenomenon predicted by Einstein that happens when massive objects warp the space-time around them, causing even light to travel on a bent path when it passes by.

Since the universe has been continually expanding since its birth, it was once much denser than it is now; and the extra-heavy cores of galaxy clusters suggest they were born during these early stages when such dense conglomerations of matter were around. But if galaxy clusters did get an early start in forming, you’d expect to see a lot more of them around today. The force of dark energy suppressed the formation of galaxy clusters, and counteracted, if you will, the head start clusters had in forming.

For all the questions this answers, it raises dozens more…

I’m an anti-American American, I guess.

Not long ago, opposing the President was considered un-American. Now, supporting the President is un-American. Blood for Oil was patriotic; now, clean energy is treasonous. What the Tea Party calls “ObamaCare” is communist, even though the Bob Dole led Senate Republicans proposed the very same thing back in 1994. In fact, check out this post, which shows Barack Obama is even more conservative than Richard Nixon was.

Yet, I recently received this comment:

You Liberals are NOT of the body of America, much in the same way as an infection is in the body but not of it. You are, in point of fact, the domestic enemies I swore an oath to defend this country against.

We’ve been told, many times, that America is not a democracy, we’re a republic. Just like the People’s Republic of China and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Despite this truth, it was Republican George W. Bush’s doctrine to spread democracy, by force if necessary. His father’s dream was a one-world government – the New World Order – remember? Which of these leaders was a “domestic enemy”?

I don’t want to be an enemy of the state. I don’t even know when I became one. Hell, in high school, I won the Citizenship Award, and my beliefs are the same now as they were then. But that was a long, long, time ago…

And you thought waterboarding was torture…

Nancy Reagan will be hosting the first 2012 republican presidential debate, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, in just a few months. This will be the earliest official campaign kick-off we’ve ever had. As she was second-banana last time around, Sarah Palin is the heir-apparent to the throne.

Daily Kos’ Jed Lewison: “If Sarah Palin manages to get the GOP nomination, by the time the 2012 election rolls around she’ll have been an official candidate for either Vice President or President for as long as she was Governor of Alaska.”

What the hell did we do to deserve this?