Current polling by the AP indicated that the shutdown crisis in Washington has shifted public opinion in an extremely negative manner for all legislators. According to this poll, Congress has a 5% approval rating, with Republicans getting a 62% disapproval ratings and the Democrats getting a somewhat-lower 49% disapproval rating.
Long story short, Washington is broken and we need to get money out of politics so that our representatives begin to fear this 5% approval rating and start doing the business of the people rather than the bidding of the wealthy/corporations.
Indiana Republican representative Marlin Stutzman made an inadvertently revealing statement when he told the Washington Examiner the following about negotiations surrounding the 2013 shutdown: “We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”
This quote is perfectly descriptive of the Republican outlook: they feel disrespected and powerless to push their agenda democratically, so they resort to extremist tactics–in essence, they are that screaming child on the playground who want his way or he will call everybody mean, take his ball, and go home. To further complicate this, the GOP feels entitled to some concessions, but it has no affirmative policies to push and is filled with people who are ignorant about policy.
The most common GOP talking point about the shutdown right now it the fact that the Democrats are refusing to compromise with them and make concessions. This talking point is simply false and based around the false-premise that this is a situation where compromise is necessary.
Obamacare was passed by the legislature, signed into law by a sitting president and upheld in the Supreme Court, thus it is the law of the land. What the GOP is trying to do right now is negotiate about nullifying this law years after the time for compromise ended.
With the election of Hassan Rowhani and the first contacts between American and Iranian presidents in decades, we are seeing a potential for diplomacy to diffuse one of the US’s largest geopolitical conflicts. Diplomacy with Iran is vastly preferable to military action and this contact between our two countries is the first step in preventing a costly and painful war.
There will be hurdles in any path towards peace, but this is an encouraging first step towards negotiation rather than preemptive violence.
Global climate change is a very real threat to humanity’s well-being. Regardless of where a person lives, they will in some way be affected by the coming changes–these consequences are extremely varied, including everything from melting ice caps and increasing sea levels, to the spread of invasive species and the creation of super-storms.
Unfortunately, one such species to gain an increased habitat due to global warming is the giant Asian hornet (also know as the “yak-killer hornet”). If you haven’t heard about this bug, which may be coming to an area near you, you are very lucky. The giant Asian hornet is a 3 inch long, acid-spitting, hornet that can outrun you, survive being swatted, and inject you with its toxic venom through its 1/4 inch stinger.
If warming trends continue, this super-hornet could spread across areas of Asia, Europe, and the Americas that were previously inhospitable to the breed.
Those who deny global warming will have no right to complain if these hornets begin living in their home town and posing a threat to them. These people were complicit in the boiling of our environment and inadvertently letting these super-bugs propagate.
P.S. If you see one of these hornets or their nests (which are the size of a small beach ball), don’t interact with them unless you have a can of bug spray the size of a trash can, a beekeeper suit, and a desire to see the inside of a hospital.
Currently, a case is in front of the Supreme Court which threatens to be Citizens United v2.0–this case is McCutcheon v. FEC. if McCutcheon is decided by the same 5-4 that CItizens United was (and that is likely), then individual and aggregate donation limits on individuals looking to donate to political campaigns will be rendered unconstitutional. If this were to occur, any wealthy interest would be able to spend unlimited sums in direct donations to politicians, an our political system would go from mostly corrupted to full-out banana republic.
In the face of this threat, we must fight back with a constitutional amendment to remove money from politics, thus taking this vital area of regulation out of the hands of the corrupt corporate muppets on the Supreme Court.
For more information, please go to the following links: