If and when the federal government’s automatic spending cuts kick in at 11:59 tonight, a healthy chunk of federal workers will be furloughed, or will start making plans to be furloughed. (We know $85 billion’s getting cut from the federal budget; it’s a little unclear how many jobs will be lost. Here’s a breakdown of what’s getting cut in PA.) Looking ahead, Patch has compiled a graph of all the Philly-area counties that have the most federal workers. Philadelphia County leads the way with 25, 480. Most of them work for the Department of Defense/Homeland Security (where most jobs will be lost) and Treasury. [WestChester Patch]
Bob Woodward foe Gene Sperling–the most feared economic adviser in the White House–has threatened journalists before. (You’ll recall he told Woodward “I think you will regret staking out that claim” about some stuff Woodward wrote about the sequester, which caused a national scandal.) Back when he was a graduate student at Wharton, Sperling wrote columns for the Daily Pennsylvanian, which was edited by current Atlantic national correspondent Jeffrey Goldberg. Once, when Goldberg threatened to cut a column, things got out of control.
The average column on our op-ed page ran about 800 words. Gene would turn in columns at 1,500 or 1,800 words…We usually managed to squeeze the columns in, because he was the best columnist we had, but on occasion he would present us with an insurmountable physics problem, and we had to cut. One day, when we couldn’t get the column on the page at his preferred length, he put up a big fight, and he said, “You’ll rue the day you cut this column.”
WOW. Wow, just wow. Run with it people. [The Atlantic]
For decades, he’s been a benign paragon of neutral, tick-tocking, investigative reporting. But now, Bob Woodward has now become the most polarizing figure in Washington. To review:
1. Bob Woodward published a Washington Post op-ed that essentially blamed Obama for the automatic spendings cuts that are set to occur tomorrow night, and what’s more, has turned his back on an agreement not to raise taxes in any deal to stave off those cuts.
2. That analysis is badly flawed: There was never an agreement not to raise taxes, and Obama only agreed to the sequester to avoid the catastrophe that would have been refusing to lift the nation’s debt ceiling.
3. Woodward went around telling people a senior White House official had told him he’d “regret” the column he wrote, making it seem like he was being threatened.
4. Official turns out to be Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling, whose otherwise groveling email read, “I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim.” (For the sake of his own reputation.)
Conservatives claim Obama is being a bully, is breaking promises, and is to blame if our economy tanks beginning this weekend. Liberals think Woodward has lost it. (Update: now conservatives think he’s lost it too.) And this is where Mike Schmidt comes in. From former Obama consigliere David Plouffe:
Watching Woodward last 2 days is like imagining my idol Mike Schmidt facing live pitching again. Perfection gained once is rarely repeated.
— David Plouffe (@davidplouffe) February 28, 2013
Apparently when Jimmy Fallon wants somebody to spice up an incredibly tired, tendentious story about fiscal crises in Washington, he turns to Brian Williams. It’s like a reverse jinx. (See: 2010, extension of the Bush tax cuts.) And when Brian Williams wants to take back the spotlight from his “Girls”-starring daughter Allison, he turns to the Roots. Below, way down there on this blog post, baby, Brian Williams slow-jams the debt ceiling. [Huffington Post]
Rather than have another crippling debt ceiling fight (remember when the United States’s credit got downgraded in 2011 because certain members of Congress threatened not to let the country pay its bills?) right on the heels of the near-crippling fiscal cliff fight, Congress has wisely decided not to wrangle unnecessarily over raising the debt ceiling. At least for another three months. In what passes for courage, resolve, and bipartisanship these days, the conservative faction of the GOP has signaled they will allow the passage of a bill to delay a vote on raising the debt ceiling until May. Huzzah! [Washington Post]
We’re less than two weeks into 2012 and already we’ve hit a new low. And I’m not just talking about Snoop Dogg’s recent appearance on The Price is Right. It’s our national debt which, at $15 trillion, is now officially equal to our Gross Domestic Product. But is this really a new low? Has our economy hit bottom, like Snoop’s career? Does the national debt really affect my small business? Up until recently I thought it did. Read more »
On any given day, tens of millions flock to the beach for the sun, sand and surf. Yet because there have been 50 cases over the last decade of people digging deep holes in the sand and then getting trapped in cave-ins (including one in the last week), there is a renewed call to ban digging holes at the beach. Some towns have already done so (Myrtle Beach), and some are close to following suit (Los Angeles). It’s such a “serious risk” that the L.A. lifeguard division chief, when asked by a reporter what advice he would give parents who are heading to the beach, replied, “Don’t let your kids dig holes.” Read more »
Water is wet. The sky is blue. The United States is insolvent. These are all true and indisputable statements, and none will change anytime soon. Yet as The Great Debt Ceiling Debate continues, it is fascinating to watch both sides spin their rhetoric while missing the big picture entirely. The Left, led by President Obama, says the U.S. must raise its debt limit or the government will default, throwing world markets into chaos. Particularly ironic was Obama chastising the Republican debt negotiators for allowing the country to come this close to the brink of default, apparently forgetting that he and his Party have spent incomprehensible amounts of money (with no value or return-on-investment) to put us at that brink. Read more »
It is a sad truth that America has been transformed from a tough-as-nails powerhouse into a nation that prefers to bury its head in the sand, pretending problems will go away if simply ignored. Being the world’s only superpower, the United States has gotten away with that dangerous mentality for years. But now it is finally time to pay the piper, yet Congress’ continued lack of action has pushed America to the brink of insolvency. Read more »