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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Archive for November 2010

Chill Out: The Obama Pay Freeze

Today President Obama formally called for a two-year pay freeze for civilian federal workers. So much for socialism, eh? The White House is characterizing the move as part of a ‘broad sacrifice’ that seeks to help restore the fiscal and economic health of the country.

of a pumpkin

“The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by employees of the federal government,” Mr. Obama told reporters. He called federal workers “patriots who love their country” but added, “I’m asking civil servants to do what they’ve always done” for the nation.

White House officials insist that the freeze will not apply to military personnel, but will affect all civilian federal employees, including workers at the Department of Defense. They’re saying the freeze should save more than $5 billion over two years, $28 billion over five years, and more than $60 billion over 10 years. Don’t get me wrong — that’s a lot of cashish, but it’s a mere drop in the deep sea that is our $1 trillion-plus federal budget deficit.

Keep in mind, this was a call for a freeze, not an executive order. Federal pay is determined by Congress, and lawmakers still have to approve. Given the mood of the nation, any guess how that will turn out?  Is Obama’s move here strategic? Sound and sincere? A symbolic gesture? Completely unreasonable? As with everything, it depends entirely on your point of view.

Peter King (R-NY): Wikileaks is a Terrorist Organization

Yesterday, Representative Peter King, ranking member and soon-to-be Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee, wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Wikileaks should be officially designated as a terrorist organization.

Wikileaks, “… appears to meet the legal criteria” of a US-designated terrorist organization..,” King wrote. “Wikileaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.”

Representative King also has written to Attoney General Holder, urging the criminal prosecutor of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for violation of the Espionage Act.

WikiLeaks a terrorist organization?  The pen really must be mightier than the sword!

Post Turkey Open Thread: Amusing Ourselves to Death

Hope everyone the other side of the pond is slowly recovering from Turkey Torpor. Meanwhile, in Ireland, 100,000 took to the cold Dublin streets to protest against the ECB/IMF cuts being imposed to bailout the Irish Banks.

Don’t know about the US, but the dangers of another round of defaults and property price collapse is imminent in the Emerald Isle; check out Morgan Kelly’s worrying analysis

Money quote below the fold…

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and a hearty blessing to you and your family this day. We have many things to give thanks for today- go share them with your family and friends.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a short prayer with you:

Almighty God, we thank you for our good fortune with full and grateful hearts. We thank you for our family and friends; we thank you for this community we’ve built and share. We ask your blessing this day, and to watch over us, especially in these troubling times; to keep us, our friends, our family, our country on the path to righteousness; for those suffering with medical bills and health care concerns; for those unemployed and suffering hard times; for our men and women overseas who can’t share this day with their families; for President Obama and our political leaders, to help keep their judgment clear and sound, to lead us through the specter of darkness facing our great nation. In your name we pray; Amen.

Thanks for our community, guys. Even from those of us not around as much as we used to be, trust me- it means a lot. God Bless, and have a great day.

Analyzing Swing States: Virginia, Part 4

This is the fourth part of a series of posts analyzing the swing state Virginia. It is the second section of two focusing on Northern Virginia, and focuses on analyzing the structural foundation behind NoVa’s Democratic shift. The fifth part can be found here.

Analyzing Swing States: Virginia,Part 4


In many ways, Northern Virginia represents the best America has to offer. As wealthy, diverse, and rapidly growing suburb, it offers the very essence of the American Dream.

More below.

It has begun…

The kids are in bed and I have ten papers on Herodotus and Thucydides left to grade and nine pages left to write by 4:00 PM tomorrow on a 1593 century tract by Thomas Nashe entitled Christes teares over Ierusalem wherunto is annexed a comparative admonition to LONDON, which is based on a 1558 translation of a Hebrew document, itself an 11th century translation of Rufinus Aquileus’s bad Latin translation of Flavius Josephus’s Greek account of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem…but such obligations must be postponed to begin my annual preparation of a turkey.  

(Vegetarians may want to avoid what comes below the fold)

Wingnut Watch: Tears, Tinfoil, & Temperance

I am not wholly certain that I remember how to write a diary at this point, but there’s been so much staggering wingnuttiness of late that I just couldn’t let all the lulz pass by without comment. I also figured I might as well remind you guys that, despite my frequent absences, I am still watching them (and YOU).

Let the lulz begin.

[Note: Editors/Admins: Please do not FP this, as it is immature and full of nawty language, and there are far worthier diaries currently gracing our front page.]

The Patchwork Nation Project

patchwork nation Pictures, Images and Photos

One thing that has been driving me insane over the last few years is the driving home of this Red State/Blue state “wisdom.”  The idea of Real America vs a Faux-America, and the resultant polarization of our politics in the idea that you’re “with us” or “against us.”

And in that feeling, we have this idea that we are divided nation, who either loves or hates the country depending on what button you push at the polls, or which circle you fill on the ballot.

Analyzing Swing States: Virginia, Part 3

This is the third part of a series of posts analyzing the swing state Virginia. It is the first section of two focusing on Northern Virginia. The fourth part can be found here.


A vast and growing suburban metropolis, Northern Virginia has become increasingly important in Virginia politics. There, demographic changes have imperiled Republican dominance of Virginia.

To illustrate the exceptional nature of this movement, compare the two elections below. Here is 2000:


Eight years later, Northern Virginia has transformed:

Analyzing Swing States: Virginia,Part 3

More below.