Friday, February 18, 2011

2-18-11: Something's Brewing in Wisconsin, South Dakota Sadness, and Watson Wins Again

Congrats, Governor Walker! You've been in office for a month, yet you're already plastered all over the news. Way to go on causing that budget shortfall, sir. It was just so calculated. We'll grant you that the Dems going rogue probably wasn't the most professional strategery for fighting your bill (they're still MIA, by the way), but it shows that they're listening to the thousands of public workers who are protesting right now. Nothing like ending the week with a little "take it to the streets!" But is it enough to re-empower the Democratic Party?

What else is up in the world? Snark on to find out...

Forecast

Madison is quickly becoming the flash point for labor unions fighting against Republicans aiming to take away bargaining rights. Thousands of protesters, including teachers, students and firefighters, are swarming the state capitol building demanding Governor Scott Walker back off. 14 Democratic lawmakers fled the state to delay the vote, and two were "interviewed" O'Reilly-style by an Illinois Tea Partier. But they have their supporters, too, including some cheese-heads in New York.

Obama unveiled his budget for fiscal year 2012. Republicans predictably pounced over the additional $1.6 trillion that the plan adds to the deficit over a decade. Some Democrats aren't happy with it, either, particularly with cuts to the energy assistance program for low-income earners. Education is receiving a modest boost despite all the painful cuts elsewhere. Yet Republicans want to slash education funding with a bill introduced the previous Friday. They may also have unwittingly taken the bait on that tricky issue of entitlement reform. Stewart caught Jeff Sessions red-handed. The New York Times has a handy info-graph for your perusal, and many of you are doing a bit better with personal finances. Buckle up, kiddos, this is going to be a rough couple of months (at least). But don't let Michele Bachmann scare you over a government shut-down...because that's Boehner's job.

The GOP House agenda is pretty unique this year. Darrell Issa leads off with his obsession with condoms, pot, and yoga. Some real investigatin,' there, Sheriff Darrell! Maybe this has something to do with a few Democratic operatives digging up his past? Anyways, both sides have come up with some ridiculous amendments to the budget. Barry's teleprompter was promptly saved from the budget axe (PHEW). Boehner's plan to cut a million jobs? So be it. Also, Free(dumb)works is handing out talking-point brochures to GOP'ers because, well, they don't have a message to sell repealing the health care law.

Egypt's military, which has taken over former president Mubarak's duties, indicated it will hold a constitutional referendum in two months. Bahrain is spinning out of control. Two dozen protesters were killed in Libya's "Day of Rage." Things are heating up in Iran, too. Are the pundits right? Is this really a wave of democracy in the Middle East? We're also concerned for the safety of journalists covering the unfolding events. And then there's the foolish tweet by a now former NYU fellow. Can we show some empathy? Apparently, not. By the by, Hillary Clinton tapped Marc Grossman to succeed the late Richard Holbrooke as the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Polls are showing that Rahm is on his way to a blowout to become Chicago's next mayor. He's also made an offer to donate to charity if his foul-mouthed Twitter alter-ego comes forward. (But we LOVE his foul-mouthed Twitter alter-ego!) Also, New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman announced his retirement.

The Week That Was

A group of wing-nuts testified in support of an extreme -- and we really mean it -- bill to amend South Dakota's justifiable homicide law to theoretically permit anyone to kill an abortion provider. South Dakota: Just Plain Crazy. In other women's health news, Mike Pence's amendment to strip Planned Parenthood of funding passed. The Senate is expected to block the legislation.

Obama jetted out west to have a working dinner-discussion with Silicon Valley execs. Those in attendance included the CEOs of Apple, Facebook and Google. A little schmoozing before 2012.

A Italian judge ordered Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial on those charges that he solicited sex from an underage girl. Three judges -- all female -- will be presiding over the trial, set for April 6. Not a great way to celebrate an anniversary, eh?

So what happens to the millions of dollars concerned Tea Partiers send to a few important Tea Party leaders? No one knows. Don't question the Establishment!

Former South Carolina Senate candidate Alvin Greene was on the ballot for a state house seat and was soundly defeated. He previously said he felt optimistic about his chances.

Ah yes, do you remember the Iraq war? The Bushies deny misleading the American people to support the invasion, but there's another angle to it: the guy the Bush administration depended on for intelligence admitted to making it all up. WONderful.

Are You Not Entertained?

"Beliebers" were furious when their idol lost to Esparanza Spalding, so they went out of their way to deface her Wikipedia page. Classy. BREAKING: Biebs also says America's health care system is the reason for our evilness (sometimes we conveniently forget that Biebs is Canadian), and that he's anti-abortion. And, finally, don't show this video to your Belieber friend(s).

DIPE! Does observing a celebrity's eating habits mean anything, in a tightly compressed media frenzy world? Apparently.

Did you catch the Grammys? Much ado was made over Lady Gaga's egg, Cee-Lo Green's "flamboyant" peacock and trying to figure out who the hell Arcade Fire is.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie waded into some pretty presidential-level decision-making by asking his New York counterpart to take back Snooki and The Situation.

Fox News "apologized" for an "honest mistake" that appeared to be a smear against Ron Paul. Is it us or is Fox always apologizing for honest mistakes?

Interweb Tomfoolery

IBM's Watson handily defeated its lowly human opponents on Jeopardy. Kent Brockman welcomes the news.

Hey, American Red Cross? Can we come party with you this weekend?

Stephen Colbert shows you just how easy it is to make a cool $315 million.

Search Engine Optimization, made worthy of a rap, and now a whole lot cooler (we think).

Glenny's newest conspiracy theory: The Google is, in fact, a front for the federal government. You know, we're betting that he Google'd that. Also, what happened to his usual "wearing a costume" routine?

Coca-Cola's secret recipe may not be so secret anymore. Please read the legal disclaimer near the end, if you plan on making some of this stuff, yourself!

Geeky gals, have a look at your new Superman.

Out on the Town

Heads up! This President's Day weekend Metro will have you fuming if you haven't planned ahead. Don't hate, just elevate.

There's a lot to do over this very presidential weekend. Enjoy a breakfast and/or tour at George Washington's Mount Vernon estate. Madame Tussauds has a new exhibit featuring all the presidents in wax form. For you athletic buffs, a 10k'er in Alexandria will fulfill your Saturday.

DC Fashion Week is coming up. There are many events through next Sunday, including a kickoff reception at Kellari Taverna, across from Turner Central.

Come celebrate Black History Month with the GMU Wind Symphony.

Free food and...belly dancers. Next Friday night is the Apokries Carnival at Slaviya of Adams Morgan. (The free stuff is between 9 and 10).

Feeling the need for some laughs at the expense of a former Alaska governor? Head over to The Sound of Palin.

The Mt. Pleasant Temporium is coming to town and last through mid-March. Shop away!

Scorecard

Well now, this Wisconsin situation has the potential to spread to many other state capitols. It's going to be a close one between this and the budget battle between Obama and Congress. Prepare for the long haul, people.

Have a nice, extended weekend, and we'll see you next week!

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