The 112th Congress, otherwise known as the least popular Congress in history, gaveled out for the final time last night. Before finishing up, they narrowly managed to solve a problem they themselves created by passing the tax package without any spending cuts, yet were apparently too exhausted from actually working to pass a measure aimed at getting more federal money to the super storm Sandy victims.
Perhaps this is as it should be. Not because I don’t think Sandy victims don’t need the help (they really do), but because it perfectly illustrates how utterly dysfunctional this Congress has become. I’m really hoping for a change in the 113th, and with a relatively healthy turnover, it’s at least nice to think we will see some movement on otherwise intractable issues.
Unfortunately, the major issues facing the incoming Congress next year will be almost an exact replay of the issues facing Congress in 2011, specifically spending cuts and raising the debt ceiling, which lead to months of gridlock, which caused the fiscal cliff scenario we just experienced. As Yogi Berra is fond of saying, it’s déjà vu, all over again.
When one is a governor-elect, there are lots of decisions to make. Transitions, appointments, policies and personnel decisions all occupy your dwindling time, and they are all really important to get right. But when the governor-elect is Pat McCrory, this is all a bit easier, since he’s been planning this day for roughly a decade, and he knows basically how he wants them to run.
Of course he needed a Chief of Staff, and that was an easy decision to appoint the guy who has been running his transition team. A new DHHS Secretary? That’s simple too- just find a retired physician and former Ambassador to Estonia who just happened to have bundled some campaign donations. Want a Deputy Director of Budgets? This is the easiest decision of all: just appoint a billionaire buddy, largest campaign donor, and conservative businessman Art Pope.
Surprised? Let’s face it folks – we knew he would be there somewhere.
The ongoing saga within Heritage Park, formerly "Sandalwood," is far from a Christmas miracle. Residents have been dealing, for years, with security issues, plumbing problems and a host of other wide-ranging concerns. However, on Wednesday, December 19th, just in time for Christmas, residents, owners, management and city representatives met to discuss those issues and talk about some good news...
Every year, TIME Magazine, announces its person of the year. As we learned again last year when The Protester won, it doesn’t always have to be a person. Instead, it can be a movement of people that captivated this country in positive or negative ways depending upon how you view the movement. From the teacher strike of Chicago to the Michigan union violence, the labor movement has us talking much like the protest movement of 2011. We don’t all agree on whether unions are a positive or a negative influence, but it is now part of our daily conversation. This is why the 2012 TIME Person of the Year should be Labor.
The election dominated the year, but labor played a huge role in the electoral narrative. In February, word began to spread that the Unions were gearing up to spend big money on the election to the tune of more than $400 million. They weren’t just involved in the presidential election either. Continuing their fight in Wisconsin, they were deep in the efforts to recall Governor Scott Walker. Walker’s ability to withstand the recall election set the stage for more Republican governors to follow his example of limiting public sector unions. The implications of this could go beyond 2012, as Ezra Klein wrote.
If you’ve been on Facebook or Twitter in the past few days, it’s pretty clear that people are mad, and they all have someone to blame for what happened in CT. While we as a society all ultimately share some responsibility, that really should not be our focus. As always, we cannot change the past, we do can change the future. The question, of course, is how.
No matter how you feel about guns, and gun control, the stats don’t lie. There have been hundreds of mass shootings since 2005 alone, and 34 Americans are killed by guns each day, not including suicides and accidents. Far more Americans have been killed by guns within the U.S. than have died in all our wars combined. You don’t hear about mass knifings.
Ok, sometimes you do, but you’ll notice the lack of fatalities.