Get up, stand up

Have a Republican Representative? Get on the phone and ask him or her to stop being a child about the ‘fiscal cliff’. Lord knows we could use the revenue, but real people will get hurt when unemployment benefits expire and important agencies face arbitrary cuts. Unemployment benefits in particular have a huge stimulatory effect even after you set aside arguments that involve having some basic f*cking humanity. (a) Every dollar gets spent right away, in America, and (b) desperate people whose tether has been cut off cost the government a lot of money. Scheduled cuts to the NIH budget will cause some non-trivial problems for my career. Odds are pretty good that the sequestration bill has some real pain for your family buried in it as well.

Find your Congressperson here.

Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Guide for first timers below the jump.

(1) Use a phone. Email has nigh on zero impact. Trust me on this. Letter mail gets read and in fact has the most impact of all, but you don’t have time. Reach the House switchboard at (202) 224-3121 .

(2) Remember, this person works for you. You pay his or her salary and you voted for them. You’re the boss here, or at least one of them, and it’s they who should worry about what you think of them.

(3) Identify your name and the town or neighborhood where you live zip code. If you are not a constituent don’t bother. Since you guys never listen to me, at least google a zip code in the appropriate district before you call.

(4) State the issue. This is easy: pass the Senate bill or the party gets it. We can (and certainly will) fix the shortcomings later. Talking points above.

(5) How strongly do you feel? Don’t apologize about feeling passionate or pissed off. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. However, keep in mind that teabaggers threaten the apocalypse over everything. Interns get jaded pretty fast when call volume is high. Polite but firm is the best way to go.

50 replies
  1. 1
    Linda Featheringill says:

    What’s the holdup? Taxes?

  2. 2
    Raven says:

    @Linda Featheringill: Taxes, Louisiana, Georgia. . . you name it!

  3. 3
    Cassidy says:

    Balloon Juice has gone kaiju suddenly.

  4. 4
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    For anyone who cares, the error is in the code that adds the edit button to the comments. I didn’t start seeing the error until I added a comment on the previous thread. I now get a Warning at the start of every comment, not just mine, from that point on, and into this thread.

  5. 5
    Maude says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent):
    Happened to me a couple of thread ago. Prolly the ajax plugin. John will fix it.
    Time for FYWP.

  6. 6
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): I take some of that back. I went back to the thread to find my comment number, and now it is two down below my comment.

  7. 7
    Schlemizel says:

    Earlier today someone was complaining that only Annie L had Fp’ed for hours and I joked they shouldn’t worry because shortly 6 FPs would go up in 30 minutes.

    I was not far off – they hit 4 between 12:09 & 12:28, with one an hour before that. Close enough!

    You have to expect this in the system as it is

  8. 8
    Schlemizel says:

    BTW – I love the new handle WP has given me – its waaaaaay better than those ones people put up

  9. 9
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    I’m not much of a student of American history. Can any of you inform my ignorance as to whether any of our mainstream political parties has gone this batshit crazy in the past? If so, how did the situation get resolved? I’m in my mid-sixties and I don’t recall either party ever acting as bughouse as the current crop of Republicans.

  10. 10
    aimai says:

    Does anyone else imagine that when Boehner shows up for one of his private talks with Obama they usher him into the Oval office and give him a little stool in the corner and a few Hi-Lites and Coloring Books and just kind of let him sit quietly learning about Goofus and Gallant and the best way to do a crossword until its time for him to go out and talk to his caucus about what he achieved today?


  11. 11
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    We’re all Warning: Missing Argument now.

  12. 12
    aimai says:

    whut? Did Higgs Bosn’s Mate and I break the system?


  13. 13
    Maude says:

    It’s the WP update. John is fixing it. We can read the comments, so I don’t mind.
    I wonder if someone uploads an image they will have a problem.

    No, I have never see the sheer nonsensical craziness like this before. Cable tv doesn’t help.

  14. 14
    Maude says:

    Oops, the crazy comment was for Higgs

  15. 15
    Cassidy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: There was this time in the 1860’s….

  16. 16
    MikeJ says:


    Does anyone else imagine that when Boehner shows up for one of his private talks with Obama they usher him into the Oval office and give him a little stool in the corner

    Thisa is why it’s an oval office. No corners.

  17. 17
    The Moar You Know says:

    Snail mail on this went out yesterday to Issa’s DC and local offices.

    Letters on filibuster reform went to DiFi and Boxer’s offices last week.

    I’m telling you guys, you get the templates set up in your word processor of choice and you can blast out snail mail – and that shit gets read and attention is paid – faster than you can write a pithy comment here. Faster than you can write a stupid one, in fact.

    Just be sure to have a couple of sleeves of stamps about.

  18. 18
    Schlemizel says:

    Aw :( the new name “Missing Warning” has gone bye-bye

    OTOH The Onion has a very simple 8 point plan that solves our financial crisis,30677/

    I bet we could get some goopers on board with this

  19. 19
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    Bugger all, I’m in Delhi and can’t call my wretched $^$&* of a congresscritter- if it’s not all over when I get home, I WILL be calling the sumbidge.

  20. 20
    KG says:

    @Cassidy: there was also the time in the 1930s and 40s, but the GOP was so widely crushed that their batshitcrazyness could be mostly ignored.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    Yeah, there was that little fracas. I omitted that because the South was fighting for something – no matter how wrong headed. The R’s current behavior is to me more disturbing because they seem to feel that if they can’t have their way then they’ll teach us a lesson by trashing the joint.

  23. 23
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    The passing years have slowed me on the draw but I defy anyone to write a stupid comment faster than I can!

  24. 24
    Cassidy says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: I was just being a smartass. In all seriousness, that’s what it reminds me of, though. There are no cooler heads to prevail and the R’s really do have this screeching desperation surrounding their fake victimization. That’s the scary part for me. They really do feel assaulted and victimized to the point where I put nothing past them. Just like then, they view the progress of America as an assualt on their way of life.

  25. 25
    bemused says:

    The GOP is acting like they have a death wish.

    My out going congress creature Chip Cravaack’s DC office is closed. I called one of his MN offices and did get an actual staffer fwiw.

  26. 26
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Stand up, hook up, shuffle to the door.

    Jump right out and count to four!

    Sorry, Boner. No parachute for YOU!

  27. 27
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    Who knew that Kent Brockman was on the Onion’s editorial board?

  28. 28
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Cassidy: @Cassidy:

    Heh! I figured that and thus the characterization as a little fracas. I’m a medievalist so my perspective of our own history is influenced by that. Seems to me that one of the many tragedies of our Civil War is that the divisions and attitudes that led to it are still afflicting us today.

  29. 29
    hep kitty says:

    OT, but for the hippies, RIP Ravi Shankar, 92

  30. 30
    Cluttered Mind says:

    I live in Bob Turner’s district. Not only did he not run for re-election, choosing instead to issue a quixotic challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand in her general senate race (in which he was predictably crushed), but he got voted in in a special election to serve out the remainder of Anthony Weiner’s term, and his district isn’t even going to exist anymore in the next congress. In short, I don’t think calling this guy is going to have any effect whatsover, since he didn’t even bother running for re-election, apparently never planned to, and is going to be replaced with a more or less liberal Democrat who I DID vote for (and will be calling for stuff like this) in January. Turner has literally nothing to lose at this point by just doing whatever the GOP wants him to, he knows he’s not coming back to politics so why should he care about what his constituents think?

    I say this not to be recalcitrant. If any of you can think of a reason why I should call Bob Turner’s office, I will do so. I just don’t see how hearing from me would accomplish anything at all.

  31. 31
    some guy says:

    Fiscal Cliff: Jump, fuckers.

  32. 32
    quannlace says:

    he GOP is acting like they have a death wish.

    They’re acting like they believe they won the election.

  33. 33
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @hep kitty:

    Oh, damn. Just lit a patchouli incense stick in memorium.

  34. 34
    The Moar You Know says:

    If any of you can think of a reason why I should call Bob Turner’s office, I will do so. I just don’t see how hearing from me would accomplish anything at all.

    @Cluttered Mind: Practice, if nothing else. It’s like job interviews. I do at least four a year even though I’ve been with the same company for almost a decade and have no plans to leave. Practice the skill because you WILL need it someday.

  35. 35
    slag says:

    And instead of cutting Social Security during the “Fiscal Cliff” negotiations, Congress should be fixating on ways to double it:

    American pensions were some of the hardest hit in the world by the Great Recession, falling in value by over a quarter in 2008, with only modest recovery since then.

  36. 36
    quannlace says:

    I have to laugh that the Word Press glitch is the message: “Warning: Missing argument”

    Missing arguments? On Balloon Juice?

  37. 37
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    They’re acting like they believe they won the election.

    And our crackwhore media is aiding and abetting them,

  38. 38
    Mandalay says:

    Unemployment benefits in particular have a huge stimulatory effect …Every dollar gets spent right away, in America

    Unless you happen to be the the Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity in Florida, which handles unemployment benefits. Then you get to spend it on vacations in Europe…

    This week, the man Governor Rick Scott selected as his so-called “Jobs Czar” resigned over revelations that the former banker violated state law while collecting unemployment benefits. Hunting Deutsch was Executive Vice President of Wealth Management at BankUnited until it was taken over by feds in May of 2009. Deutsch reportedly drew some $25,000 in unemployment benefits over the nearly two-year period between his stint with the failed bank and his appointment by Scott, all while seemingly skirting eligibility requirements.

    Last month, the Florida Current first reported that Deutsch had received unemployment benefits after departing BankUnited – for which he also received a compensation package upon his exit – and that while state regulations require recipients to actively seek employment for each week the benefit is received, as well as to be available for employment, Deutsch and his wife instead took several vacations to Europe during the time he was drawing unemployment checks.

    “At the end of the day, I’m fortunate enough where I’ve worked for very successful companies for a long period of time and luckily sold all my bank stocks – most of them at the right time, at the right price – and quite frankly, didn’t have to work,” Deutsch told the Tallahassee-based publication. “So my wife and I took time off and traveled a good bit; we were in Europe several times.”


    If you made this stuff up nobody would believe it.

  39. 39
    scav says:


    i rather think their subconscious mind has read and interpreted the polls their spinning tongues and thnik tanks are thrice denying. muscular twitches not under higer-order control are kicking in. Squirrel stops, sees the on-coming car, hesitates, and makes his instinctive escape dash across the highway. I’m probably being over-charitable. Undoubtedly so for Michigan which is being razed in a fit of self-immolation where the leader insists on taking all his slaves with him.

  40. 40
    Yutsano says:

    @Mandalay: No wonder dogshit is more popular than Rick Scott right about now.

  41. 41
    SarahT says:

    Way O.T., but…Holy Crap AND WTF ? !!!!!!!!!:

  42. 42
  43. 43
    danah gaz says:

    “Warning: Missing Argument”

    That sounds like a flag for trolling. =)

  44. 44
    kindness says:

    @SarahT: Paul playing Kurt….Hey, it could work. Not sure if Paul can croak like Kurt but it’s a 15 minute stage gig. They’ll be fine.

  45. 45
    SarahT says:

    @kindness: Could be a hideous car wreck, could be the best thing we’ll see for the rest of 2012. Really hoping for the latter – could use a little lift right about now for sure.

  46. 46
    Schlemizel says:


    “Oh, I can’t say I’ve been missing them Bob.”

  47. 47
    flukebucket says:


    Taxes, Louisiana, Georgia. . . you name it!

    LOL!! I still ain’t callin’ Paul Broun. I am not going to give those fuckers the chance to laugh at me.

  48. 48
    mclaren says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if liberal Democrats showed this much passion and commitment to lighting up the White House switchboard to protest Obama’s tax cuts for the rich? Or Obama’s assassination of U.S. citizens without trial? Or Obama’s new foreign wars in Syria and Libya?

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:


    Meh, it sounds more like McCartney is going to be playing a song he wrote with Grohl and Novoselic, not that he’s going to be singing “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

    But if he does, I’ll throw an extra $25 to the Red Cross for the sheer comedy value.

  50. 50
    e.a.f. says:

    The REpublicans don’t care if peoples’ unemployment benefits cease. They will still be collecting their salaries. What people in these Republicans’ ridings could do, is when their unemployment benefits stop, move in with the representative. I am sure their homes & offices are listed. if people can’t afford to live at home, move in with your federal representative until they vote to continue the benefits.

    At some level I suspect the Republicans wish there were no unemployment benefits. Then the unemployed would work for the same salaries as the Chinese workers do.

    It is rather peculiar though that these Republicans don’t want to pay unemployed Americans enough money to keep a roof over their heads & feed themselves & their children but are fighting to the bitter end to ensure the 1%ers don’t have to pay any extra taxes. gee I guess these REpublicans have more in common with some of the founding fathers than I thought. Some of those F.F.s had slaves. Maybe that is what the Republicans want, more slaves to do their biding & make them more money.

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