Friday, September 30, 2011

Evening at the Japan Information and Culture Center

こんばんは!Tonight, the Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC), a section of the Embassy of Japan, featured the anime movie "Welcome to the Space Show!" (宇宙ショーへようこそ Uchū Shō e Yōkoso) It is a visually stunning science fiction anime. It was also very touching とても面白い! Below are some pictures from my night.


One of the most cited partisan reasons for opposing DC statehood is the fact that the District would undoubtedly elect two Democrats into the Senate and another Democrat into the House. However, is there also racial undertones at work? This opinion piece suggests the role race might play in fueling the fight against DC statehood.

The case against DC statehood

The case for DC statehood


Our debate Thursday is about DC statehood. Some have suggested "retrocession" instead, with MD annexing DC.

Interesting CNN poll

A new CNN poll shows that 90% of Americans feel the economy is in a bad state (not too surprising) but a higher percentage than in June of this year when 81% believed the economy was in bad shape. More interesting is that 52% of respondents blamed the previous administration for our economic malaise and only 32% put the blame on the Obama administration. Perhaps this view may play well for Democrats in 2012.

Occupy DC

The Occupy Wall Street movement has gone viral and spread to multiple cities including Washington. Next weekend thousands are supposed to show up at Freedom Plaza to protest the current state of the economy and what many see as an inadequate government response. Should be interesting if anyone has nothing to do on Saturday.

Republicans target health, education for cuts

Hold on Democrats...
The Republicans also want to pass their bills!

Would these bills hurt Obama's chances of relection?
Personally, I think it would... ALOT!

Hey kids, Glenn Beck has a new show

Glenn Beck has recently criticized the lefts indoctrination of children and has attacked Elmo for favoring redistribution of wealth. In response, he has developed a right wing TV show for children called Liberty Treehouse which will be aired on a subscription based network. Glenn is attempting to break the taboo of explicitly discussing politics in children's programming. In the first episode straw polls and debates will be featured.

Organ Trade

A good introduction article from NPR to start us thinking about next week's potential debate topic: should a market for human organs be legal?

Take note if the initial arguments from experts at the bottom of the article. Let the debate begin!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Meeting with Michael McCurry

Fascinating discussion. We met in PSW's conference room, which was once the studio where Matthew Brady took the photograph of Abraham Lincoln that became the image on the five dollar bill.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Obama urges Supreme Court to hear health care law quickly

Certainly a bold move from Obama, and one that could completely derail his campaign if it goes wrong, considering the ruling could come during summer 2012. But when you're down in a hole, it's an ideal time to take big chances, so this does make sense to a degree...

Obama's Class Warfare

Recent criticisms of Obama have attacked Obama's new tax plan as 'class warfare'. Obama has recently endorsed implementing a "Buffett rule" that ensures that the rich in America will not pay a lower tax rate than those less well off. While I agree with the essential premise that the rich should pay more in taxes than their fellow, less wealthy citizens, the "Buffett rule" seems a misguided way to address tax reform in such tumultuous economic times. Obama needs a swift economic recovery if he has any hopes for re-election and attacking the rich with significantly higher income tax rates is not the way to go about raising tax revenue. It will only further alienate crucial upper class and upper-middle class support in the coming election. Instead I agree with this Economist article that America needs to focus its tax reform on taxes like the capital gains tax, where there is more room for maneuvering and politicking without isolating critical segments in society. America could also do well to simplify its tax code and eliminate some unnecessary deductions that don't directly affect income levels. Obama needs a critical reassessment of his tax plan because as of now it seems a rehash of typical Democratic policy that will not inspire the electorate come 2012.

Obama Adopting a More Partisan Tone

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Obama Policy vs.(loves) Truman Policy

Interesting article about the spending habits of President Obama and former President Truman. The article compares each of the presidents' tactics in trying to stimulate the economy. Essentially Truman passed the blame onto a "do nothing Congress" and it appears that Obama is doing much of the same. Thoughts?

Geograpy Fail

The White house fails at basic geography...

A creative way to get out of debt

The US Postal Service has always followed a rule that in order for a person's face to be featured on a postage stamp, he or she must have deceased 5-10 years prior. With the USPS on verge of default, it has changed its policy, hoping to raise its profits. Living people are now eligible to be featured on stamps. While I'd love to send my grandma a birthday card with a winning photo of Charlie Sheen in the top right corner, it seems as if my dreams of Harry Caray postage stamps have an even slimmer chance.

Cows Explain How Government Functions!

An interesting way to understand how the various forms of government work.

Conservatives would not take Obama to foggy London town

Interesting yet entertaining op-ed piece by National Review Online editor Jonah Goldberg in which he explains how Obamacare awoke conservative ideologists from hibernation. Note the reference to TJE's previous Galton post.


We're going to a meeting at the Antitrust Division of the Justice Dept. on November 2.

Free the grapes

Interesting case of lobbying the current Congress. Those of you working on the Hill, does your member have a position on the issue. Have you seen any lobbying?

Facebook raises its game in Washington by forming its own PAC

Facebook is growing strong!
Watch out Google+

Monday, September 26, 2011

Modern Presidency

Will we ever have another Modern President???

This will SCARE You!

Earthquake Video From Inside Washington Monument!

Obamacare headed toward SCOTUS

Will Citizens United help unions?

Small Donors Are Slow to Return to the Obama Fold

In 2008, Obama received nearly 50% of his contributions from donors giving $200 or less, equaling 25% of Obama’s total record fundraising high. This indicated a widespread support base of Americans with moderate means. However, this widespread grassroots support will most likely not be replicated in the upcoming election.

As these Americans of moderate fiscal means become increasingly disenchanted and frustrated with Obama’s message and actions (shown by his sinking approval rate), less small donors have given money.

In the previous election, many of the small donors also volunteered in his campaign, canvassed, and participated in get out the vote efforts which also has implications for the next election.

So far in the election cycle, the vast majority of Obama’s past small donors have not yet given him any money at all. Although the president is more likely to raise more money than any of the Republican candidates next month, his political difficulties have raised questions about his ability to sustain future fundraising and his ability to garner votes.

Message to POTUS: Update your profile!

Pelosi and Reid at odds with Obama over trade

Will Obama's trade deals with Colombia, South Korea and Panama, help or hurt U.S. employment???

The E-Congress

Interesting data by a HC grad about email v. snailmail communication with members of Congress.

AEI's focus of the day: Putting men back in the workforce

Today AEI will be hosting a panel discussion on an interesting topic: work programs for men. It will definitely be thought-provoking since welfare programs and initiatives catered towards single mothers and children are much more prevalent. The event will be streaming live at noon as well as archived online.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mobilizing the base

Interesting piece relevant to our discussion this Wednesday.

Hot n' Juicy Crawfish --> Check it Out!

Big Will and I had a wonderful lunch at Hot n' Juicy. If you enjoy seafood and spice, this is your kind of place. You can choose your own seasoning and spice level. I recommend the medium spice level and all the seasoning's good so don't worry about that. It's messy fun and tastes delicious. It's right around the corner on Connecticut. By the way, they'll put the bib on for you!

Are Dems losing political center?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Nose Bleed Seats at the Verizon Center

Verizon Center "How Sweet the Sound" Choir Competition last night.

Crowe-Perry bromance?

I'm an optimist,

but here's a depressing news story.

The latest showdown at Gucci Gulch

Czar Boehner--not!

Modern speakership is like herding cats.


I liked this event more than I thought I would. Exciting plays, interesting crowd, fun seatmates, continuous action-- I'd go again.

More air pollution means more asthma attacks??

Prof. Eismeier, a few weeks ago, remarked on various advertisements by interest groups/ lobbies that had dominated the metro rail. On our metro ride to the stadium to watch our beloved DC United team face off with Chivas USA, I took a picture of one such advert.

Obama At The UN: Away from Potomac Fever

President of The Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas

Well today, as we were having lessons, very important events were going on. Many foreign leaders are in the US to attend the 66th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York City. Obama gave his speech before the Assembly today. One of the many key issues in his address centered on the Palestinian Authority's bid to be recognized as an independent state by the UN Security Council. Here are the reasons he gives for the US' objection to the Palestinians' bid for statehood.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

DC adventures

The other day, I longboarded down to the Whitehouse!

Then I headed over to the Holocaust Museum- which by the way is the best museum I've seen so far (and its free!).


Ranking Speakers

From our discussion in class this morning, here are the average rankings our group gave past Speakers of the House on a scale of 1(best) to 9 (least great).

1. Henry Clay - 1.8
2. Thomas Reed - 2.9
3. James Polk - 3.9
4. Newt Gingrich - 4.3
5. Joe Cannon - 5.7
6. Nicholas Longworth - 5.9
6. Thaddeus Stevens* - 5.9
8. James Blaine - 7.2
9. Sam Rayburn - 7.3

*Stevens was not actually speaker

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Obama Jobs

In response to accusations by prominent Republican presidential candidates and a growing misguided consensus that Obama's first Stimulus and Recovery Act failed to create any jobs and is thus rational to oppose the New Jobs Act, I submit the following as evidence. The records of jobs created and sustained each quarter by the Recovery Act as required to be reported by primary recipients of Recovery Act funding.

Justice Department Accused of Superfluous Spending

An audit report of the Justice Department’s costs for conferences over a few years shows unreasonable ostentatious spending. Of course, the department denies certain unnecessary purchases but it doesn’t seem likely that the inspector who conducted the audit would fabricate lists of expensive snacks and trips. Should the Justice Department’s spending be this flexible? Would the government be overreacting if it gave the department stringent spending rules or budgets?

Celebration and concern mark the end of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Today officially marks the end of the military’s 18 year old ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy, allowing members of the military to finally reveal their sexuality without fear of losing their jobs. The Defense Department claims that they will have no tolerance for anti-gay behavior, just as it does for religious and gender discrimination. Troops previously discharged under don’t ask don’t tell can finally reenlist if they still meet the qualifications.

However, not all is solved. The Federal Defense of Marriage Act does not allow the military to recognize same-sex partnerships. This means that their partners will not be able to get the same benefits married heterosexual benefits are entitled to.

Changing demographics of DC

Good news for Newt-- sort of.

If you see something, say something.

Any bets on when the plug will be pulled on this gift to critics and humorists?

Who needs solar energy....

when we have revolving door power.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"It's not class warfare..."

...but even if it were, would it be a problem?

President Obama is finally sticking up for the middle and lower class and not playing into the hands of those that would fluff the pillows of top income earners - the richest of the rich - while leaving the rest of the country to struggle with the economic state our country is in. Obama's plan to increase taxes for the top 0.3%, while already vilified, could be the sobering punch that the wealthy in this country need and a viable solution to begin addressing deficit reduction. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder to Democrats that their party is one committed to greater economic equality. Now those in Congress need only to stand their ground in support

Republicans in the House (and Senate), be careful as to who you make your bed with.

Unions Are Not to Blame for Wisconsin's Fiscal Concerns