The government just shut down. Now what?
1 hour ago
"Over the past several years, Minnesota has become a testing ground for a litany of policies Democrats hope to enact nationally: legalizing same-sex marriage, making it easier to vote, boosting primary education spending, instituting all-day kindergarten, expanding unionization, freezing college tuition, increasing the minimum wage, and passing new laws requiring equal pay for women. To pay for it all, Dayton pushed a sharp increase on taxes for the top 2 percent—one of the largest hikes in state history. Republicans went berserk, warning that businesses would flee the state and take jobs with them.Yeah, that's good. But wait, there's more:
The disaster Dayton's GOP rivals predicted never happened. Two years after the tax hike, Minnesota's economy is booming. The state added 172,000 jobs during Dayton's first four years in office. Its 3.6 percent unemployment rate is among the lowest in the country (Wisconsin's is 5.2 percent), and the Twin Cities have the lowest unemployment rate of any major metropolitan area."
"Priority No. 1 was raising taxes on the rich. The final tax plan—which bumped up income taxes 2 percent for couples earning $250,000 per year—made Minnesota the fifth-highest tax state in the nation. But the hike paid for an arsenal of new programs. The same day Dayton signed the tax bill, he also approved a $429 million jobs bill. "He was unswayed by the consultants in the Democratic Party who were counseling Democrats to go to the middle to avoid the tax and spend label that is put on Democrats," says Jacobs, the University of Minnesota political scientist."And yes, it's working. Now read about Sam Brownback -- and how Kansas isn't working.
"The brightest spot continues to be too small to resolve with our camera, but despite its size it is brighter than anything else on Ceres. This is truly unexpected and still a mystery to us," said Andreas Nathues, lead investigator for the framing camera team at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gottingen, Germany."
" "As we slowly approach the stage, our eyes transfixed on Ceres and her planetary dance, we find she has beguiled us but left us none the wiser," said Chris Russell, principal investigator of the Dawn mission, based at UCLA. "We expected to be surprised; we did not expect to be this puzzled." "
|The virginal mermaid pose|
|The back side is a good side, too|
|This shot is better than what's on the cover|
"Host cities and organizers will be forced to cancel, postpone or perhaps even move outdoor sporting events to alternate locations or shift them to different seasons of the year. This could be a big deal for the sports (entertainment) industry. Sport is embedded in Australian society – central to culture and economy. It is not different in American society with both professional and ‘amateur’ sports deeply rooted in American popular culture. The popularity of all kinds of sports is sky-high – including fan interest and support. At the same time, the impacts of climate change on sport are far-reaching. Extreme heat in particular can affect the health of athletes and spectators."What about winter sports, you are thinking to yourself?
"The findings showed that 333, or 6.3 percent, of the bridges were structurally deficient. These bridges must be inspected every year because critical load-bearing structures were in poor condition from damage or deterioration, the group said.Structurally deficient bridges were more likely to be in urban areas.
Another 1,085 bridges, or 20.5 percent, were functionally obsolete and no longer meet current standards for bridge construction. Those bridges, for example, could have narrow lanes or load-bearing standards below those for bridges built today."
"Hogan has proposed passing on a greater share of state transportation dollars to counties and municipalities for local projects. He is also proposing to pay for some previously planned environmental projects with transportation funds. Those changes could reduce the amount of funding available for state transportation projects by an additional $1.5 billion during the six-year period, according to the document, leaving little money for projects in the state transportation fund."
"Ralph Bennett, president of Purple Line Now, a coalition of business, labor, environmental and civic groups that is pushing for the completion of the light-rail line, described Hogan’s proposal as “ridiculous.” "Yes, it is. But that's what happens when a Republican governor gets elected. Kansas, here, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Texas, Louisiana. The ridiculous becomes the norm.
|Good view of the lens|
|Another good view of the lens at sunset|
"The GAO report highlights the threat climate change poses to federal property, and insurance and disaster relief programs. In fact, the National Flood Insurance Program is so at risk of going underwater—last year, the program was $23 billion in the red—that it warranted its own chapter in this year’s report. The GAO also said the government is still lagging in its efforts to be the provider of information to decision makers, and coordinating actions to reduce climate risks nationally."
"In comparison, the satellite gap is a more clear-cut, though still pressing, issue. While there has been some improvement, including upgrades to weather models for integrating satellite data, GAO still identified a gap of at least a year where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) could be without polar-orbiting satellite capabilities. That’s shorter than the 17- to 53-month gap first identified by GAO in 2013 but longer than the three months NOAA has said it could last."
The Hill quotes a number of GOP Senators wringing their hands about how awful a DHS shutdown would be for the country, including this one:
"One senior GOP senator leaned in and whispered to The Hill: “Of course Republicans will get blamed” for a shutdown."
You know, it’s almost as if Republicans have tried this before and might even learn from their previous experiences.
"Louisiana’s travails are particularly problematic because they have been caused in large part by Jindal’s tax cuts, which, along with declining oil revenue, blew such a hole in the state budget that even huge spending cuts haven’t made up the gap. In the last few days, articles in the New York Times and Politico have detailed Louisiana’s fiscal travails, including a possible 40 percent operating-budget cut at Louisiana State University and an increase in tuition at public universities of 90 percent during Jindal’s time in office. Jindal has already raided state reserve funds and resorted to the sort of budget-keeping gimmicks that he once criticized."Yeah, that ain't good.
|So go beyond that point, Caro|
|Split Rock with a big Superior winter wave|