Sweet Dreams 2/21/2014

– More on President Obama’s budget this year. Like I said before, I know it’s a purely political document that will never get a vote in either house, but I think it’s important heading into campaign season. Jonathan Chait has a great piece for NY Mag, “Obama’s Budget Not Pretending to Believe in Grand Bargain“:

In reality, the fundamentals of the situation have not changed at all. Last year, Obama was willing to adopt C-CPI in return for concessions Republicans would never, ever make. This year, Obama is still willing to adopt C-CPI in return for concessions Republicans would never, ever make. Putting the compromise in his budget was merely Obama’s way of locating the blame for the reality that Republicans in Congress will never, ever, ever strike a fiscal deal with him. The disappointed deficit scolds sitting just to Obama’s right, and the joyous progressives just to his left, are committing the same fallacy. They are mistaking a step premised on an impossibility for a semblance of reality.

– And Paul Waldman for The Prospect on Rand Paul’s recent surprising tweet, “Ted Nugent’s derogatory description of President Obama is offensive and has no place in politics. He should apologize.”:

Genius. Paul obviously understands that nothing gets attention like criticizing someone on your own side, even if it’s someone on the fringe. So what’s his reward? Fulsome praise from people on all sides of the aisle! Oodles of good press! Even liberals will write blog posts lauding him! Like the very one you’re reading. All of a sudden he looks like the reasonable one, and just look at the results. Here’sa piece about him in the Washington PostHere’s an article on PoliticoHere’s the Huffington PostHere’s the Washington Times. You get the idea.

– An Arizona pizzeria is banning anti-gay lawmakers from their store. On Thursday of this week, lawmakers in the state passed a bill that was aimed at allowing businesses to deny services to same-sex couples, but in reality allows almost any sort of discrimination, as long as it is done in the name of religion. Arizona continues to lead the nation in attention-grabbing, bigoted, hateful laws under its Governor Jan Brewer.

I’ve never mentioned Jan Brewer on this blog before, so I’m going to take the opportunity to post this video of Brewer, pausing during the intro portion of a debate, and not speaking for at least 30 seconds, and then continuing on as if nothing happened. HI-LARIOUS.

– The Obama Administration welcomed the deal struck in Ukraine today as a step towards peace and Democracy. Press Secretary Jay Carney said the deal was, “consistent with what we have advocated in calling for a de-escalation of the violence, constitutional change, a coalition government, and early elections.”

In today’s agreed-upon deal, elections will be moved up to this year, from the planned March 2015 and the constitution will revert back to its 2004 form, which will give Parliament more power to name government officials,  up to and including the Prime Minister.

Chris Christie and the Obama Administration did not get along today. First, Politico breathlessly reports that, in a matter of life and death where million upon millions of people could be affected, Christie will skip a planned dinner with President Obama. Christie is opting to skip the annual National Governors Association meeting to head home early and do more damage control.

Somehow getting less coverage is the story that will actually affect thousands of families in New Jersey in real life. Today, New Jersey lost $7.67 million of free, no-strings-attached Federal dollars because the Christie Administration accepted the grant to build its own Obamacare exchange, decided not to actually implement their own exchange, but to let the Feds do it, THEN started planning ways to spend the money, and couldn’t come up with any ways that met ACA regulations on how the money must be spent.

– Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas is finally starting to see his numbers sink from the story coming out that he doesn’t actually live in Kansas, pays constituents $300 per week to let him crash on the couch when he’s in town, and drives a car with a Virginia license plate. Roberts’ favorabilities have basically flipped upside down since the last time he was polled. Previously he was at 31-28, already pretty bad for a U.S. Senator. Now, it’s at 29-38, which at -9 and only a 29%(!) approval is strait up horrible, especially for a conservative Republican in deep-red Kansas.

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