Archive | February, 2013

Programming Note

Vacation Time programming note

And in Other News

What Reagan Missed: Other News of the Day

General John Allen other news

Petraeus scandal officially brings down General John Allen. That or Afghanistan. Or ‘family issues’. Whatever. NPR

Oscar Pistorius “mistook girlfriend for intruder” and shot her through the bathroom door. I know that when I break into houses, the first thing I do is take a quick leak. BBC News

Christian dating site linked to rape. I thought the whole point of a Christian dating site was to avoid pre-marital relations? CNN

The Harlem Shake hits the senior citizen circuit. Note: video is NOT in slow motion. USA Today

Bad news for those who just bought a Mac (Reagan): cyber attacks on Apple computers are now a thing. Reuters

Making treasure out of tragedy: Russians are now illegally selling pieces of the meteor that crashed in the Ural mountains last week. New York Times

White House is very concerned with China’s cyber snooping and is bulking up its cyber defenses. Fox News

Tunisia Prime Minister gives up and resigns amid political/economic crisis. That was quick. CBC News

SCROTUS to hear campaign finance case. I mean SCOTUS. Politico

Healthy competition gone very wrong: Connecticut shooter wanted to top Norway shooter. Mission not accomplished. Chicago Tribune

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Procrastination Nation: Budget Cuts Back on the Table

Obama Budget Cuts

Fresh off a three day golf weekend with Tiger Woods, President Barack Obama is now faced with another fiscal deadline (the budget cuts he put off dealing with in January…). Obama is urging congressional Republicans to accept more tax revenue in order to avert the looming, across-the-board- budget cuts due to take effect on March 1st.

The Sequester is the New Fiscal Cliff

The sequester (which is a terrible name for automatic budget cuts) was first set to begin taking effect on January 1st. However, as part of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations/shenanigans, the White House and Congress agreed to push it off for a couple months in order to work on a larger budget deal not deal with it.

The $85 billion in budget cuts, known as the sequester, will start taking effect on March 1st unless Congress acts. Or unless it gets put off again…

Fun fact: the sequester was never actually intended to go into effect. Rather, it was meant to be a threat designed to bring lawmakers together to figure out a mutually agreed path to deficit reduction. But surprisingly not surprisingly, Democrats and Republicans still can’t agree on a plan, despite knowing this day was coming for over a year.

What the Democrats are Thinking

Obama says the sequester would be detrimental to an economy still suffering from high unemployment and sluggish growth. Instead, the White House is backing a proposal unveiled by Senate Democrats that offsets the sequester through a combination of targeted spending cuts and increased tax revenue.

What the Republicans are Thinking

No increased tax revenues! Obama already won a revenue increase in the new year, when Congress allowed taxes to rise on families making more than $450,000 annually so he can’t have anything else. Boom. Also, no defense cuts, only non-defense cuts allowed.

What Reagan is Thinking

Given the little progress on the sequester front in recent weeks and the fact that Congress is now in some kind of Presidents Day recess, it will likely be delayed again. But eventually, a broader budget agreement will have to be put into place, right?

Via: The Washington Post 

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Current Event Cat of the Day

Diamond Heist Current Event Cat

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Nothing Says ‘I Trust Your Judgement’ Like Making Your Own Backup Immigration Plan. Or does it…?

Obama's Backup Immigration Plan

The White House has come up with a draft proposal for a backup immigration plan in case lawmakers can’t pull together an immigration overhaul of their own.

A draft of the backup immigration plan, obtained by USA Today, would allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years, provide more security funding, and require business owners to check the immigration status of new hires within four years.

Last month, four Republican senators joined forces with four Democratic senators to hash out a comprehensive immigration proposal. The new Obama-led backup immigration plan is being developed alongside the one being drafted by the ‘gang of eight’ senators. However, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said Sunday that the president simply wants to “be prepared” in case the group of eight bipartisan senators fails to devise a plan for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Although the White House insists the focus “remains on the congressional process” and the proposal is simply in case “the bipartisan process gets bogged down and is not able to produce a bill”, Republicans spent the weekend expressing shock and outrage at the leaked proposal. Enter Marco Rubio, fresh off his water bottle fame, who issued a statement saying the plan would be “dead on arrival” and calling it “a mistake” for the White House to draft a plan without consulting with Republicans in Congress.

But does the president actually have little faith in bi-partisan efforts? Or…. is this a genius ploy to guarantee the original Senate plan’s passing?

An Obama-led backup immigration plan could act as a lightening rod of Republican hate, which so far it clearly has. We know Republicans need to gain some Hispanic voters and we know they will never agree with Obama, so this backup plan seems like a great way to kill two birds with one stone. If enough differences can be drawn between the Obama plan and the Senate plan, Republicans can rally around the Senate plan, continuing their hatred for all things Obama while at the same time pushing immigration reform.

Obviously an Obama driven plan is much less likely to make it through the house than a bipartisan one that originated in the Senate. Even Newt thinks so! So putting out a backup immigration plan to deflect Republican criticism may actually work in favour of bipartisanship consensus, thus making immigration reform a stronger possibility.

Ahhh the decoy plan…. well played Mr. President, well played.

Via: NBC News

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And in Other News…

What Reagan Missed: Other News of the Day

meteor other news

In Soviet Russia, Space Explores You. Russia meteor crash causes millions in damages and leaves hundreds injured. CBC

Canadians debate zombies in Parliament. Yes, this actually happened. Gizmodo

The show must go on! A South African TV channel will still air a reality show featuring Reeva Steenkamp, the murdered girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius. BBC News

Thousands join D.C climate change rally. Will anyone listen? Probably not. USA Today

New diet craze: Get lost in Australian outback, drink contact lens fluid and lose 33 lbs! National Post

Two black guys on a golf course. Side note: Is Tiger Woods considered black? Washington Post

The White House comes up with their own ‘backup’ immigration plan (in case bi-partisanship doesn’t work out…) New York Times

Marco Rubio has a new career: selling water bottles. Actually. So far he’s made $100,000! Buzzfeed

Late term abortions now available in New York thanks to Governor Cuomo. New York Times

More African kidnappings: Gunmen kidnap seven foreigners in Nigeria. Reuters

NRK to broadcast 12-hour wood burning program. Everyone agrees that it will be the most exciting thing on to happen to Norwegian television. BBC News

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Current Event Cat of the Day

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Mass Rally over Singapore Immigration Plans Leaves Everyone Wondering “Who Would Want to Immigrate to Singapore?”

Singapore Mass Rally Immigration

Singaporeans did the unspeakable (for Singaporeans) on Saturday and spoke out against government plans to allow more immigration into the city-state.

More than 4,000 Singaporeans attended the immigration rally making it the biggest protest in recent memory and a rare site for the country where political discontent is a major faux-pas. Rally leaders, who used social media to draw support, openly attacked the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has been in power for more than 50 years, over its immigration policies.The peaceful rally was staged in response to a recent government policy paper which predicted that foreigners could account for nearly half of the island’s population in less than 20 years.

The Singaporean government revealed last month that it expected its population to increase by 30% to between 6.5 million and 6.9 million by 2030, with foreigners making up 45% of that number. Apparently Singaporeans aren’t having nearly enough babies so immigration is needed to help offset the low birth rate as well as their aging population.

Now, as a former Singapore resident, I have nothing but hatred for the country, but apparently there are flocks of Asians wanting to get in to the already crowded island nation. But Singaporeans aren’t having any of that. Many of them blame immigration for rises in property prices and living costs. And they just don’t like outsiders (who does?).

It’s true that the cost of living is ridiculous ($10+ for a bottle of beer?!) and renting an apartment will likely bankrupt you. It’s also true that there is an epidemic of dengue fever and health care is NOT cheap or well-run. And it’s also so that it is already so densely populated with Asians that getting a seat on the Metro is the equivalent of winning the lottery.  So all in all, a lovely place. Low taxes though.

With any luck, the rally will encourage the government to limit the amount of immigrants and foreigner workers. Not to preserve Singapore’s national identity, but for their own sake, to protect them from the terribleness that is Singapore.

Via: BBC News

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This Year’s Valentine’s Day is Brought to you by Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius

There’s nothing like a “Valentine’s Day surprise gone wrong” to really make you feel the love. Oscar Pistorius, South Africa’s Olympic/Paralympic hero, has been arrested for shooting and killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at his house in Pretoria early this morning.

Oscar Pistorius launched to fame this past summer when he made history by becoming the first double amputee track athlete to ever compete at the Olympics. Having had both his legs amputated below the knee before his first birthday because of a congenital condition, he campaigned for years to be allowed to compete against able-bodied athletes, finally winning in 2008 and going on to compete in the London Olympic Games. Now the double amputee, nicknamed Blade Runner, is facing a murder charge in what some his lawyer’s are calling a Valentine’s Day surprise gone wrong.

Rumour has it that Reeva planned to surprise Pistorius and snuck into his house. Oscar, “mistaking” her for an intruder, grabbed his gun and shot her in the chest, head, and arms. I suppose Pretoria IS the home robbery capital of South Africa but wouldn’t you realize it was your girlfriend after the first shot?

ALSO, police say neighbours heard screaming and shouting around the time of the shooting, and that they had been called to investigate incidents of a domestic nature at the same house in the past. Sounds suspicious…

Reeva was a 30-year-old model, reality star and law school graduate who had only been dating Oscar Pistorius for two months. Also, she was apparently quite excited about Valentine’s Day….according to her Twitter… eek.

26-year-old Oscar was charged with murder and an application for bail is probably definitely going to be denied during a hearing tomorrow.

First Lance Armstrong, and now Oscar Pistorius? I guess you should never trust an athlete who has parts missing below the waist. Too soon?

Via: Associated Press 

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Current Event Cat of the Day

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