Another Schiavo moment?

One of you accurately predicted last spring that the dust-up over access to contraception — which the media portrayed as having a big political downside for Obama because Catholic Reagan Democrat swing voters blah blah blah — had the potential to be Schiavo moment politically, one where Beltway wisdom said it was good news for conservatives, but where voters felt very differently.

I have a feeling the sequester may be one too. Establishment media has gone all in on the strange contradictory Republican spin “the sequester was Obama’s fault, anyway it won’t be that bad, and if it is bad, voters will turn on Obama”.

Takes me back:

Despite some public opposition to Congress’s action (see below) the Republican leadership seems to have succeeded in framing the discourse around a moral question: if Congress can do something to prevent a woman’s death, shouldn’t it?


Once again, clearing away the personal part, the Republicans are on the offensive and the Democrats are on the defensive. That’s a Notable fact.

96 replies
  1. 1
    askew says:

    I think if Senate Dems can get their act together and vote on a Sequester replacement this week and Obama does a big primetime press event showing that he and Dems have been working to fix the Sequester it will end up like Newt’s government shutdown. The beltway media is way too invested in this is Obama’s fault and/or both sides are to blame to cover the Sequester honestly.

    I do like that the WH put out breakdowns of Sequester’s impact by state. This will make it easy for local news to cover.

  2. 2
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    Like a lot of things over the past 20 years: When people look up, they notice the Republicans are fucking up the country and the Democrats are trying to help. Which is why the Republicans are intent on making it so that most people can’t look up from their menial jobs at minimal pay.

  3. 3
    Robin G. says:

    I think the Republicans are taking a very, very serious risk of proving to the American people that they (shock!) actually need the government to pay for stuff.

    Given the entire GOP platform is predicated on the idea that we don’t need the government to do anything for us, it’s sure as hell not a gamble I would have made.

  4. 4

    I know this is a little off the subject, but I’ve been seeing this shit about how the Obamas spend 20 times!!!11¡! as much on their family as the royal family spends on theirs. Does anybody know where this comes from? I’ve poked around, and everything I’ve found leads back to some guy named Gray who has a book to sell. I’ve heard this a few times already today after Mrs. Obama spoke at the awards last night, proving that she’s Marie Antoinette or something. Has anybody heard this? Anybody know anything about its roots? Even if it’s true, the queen and her brood don’t do anything, anyway. They’re figureheads, symbols, icons. The government runs Great Britain, not the queen.

  5. 5
    Patricia Kayden says:

    The Schiavo incident was such an embarassment for the Repubs. Wasn’t that where one of their leaders (Dr. Frist) diagnosed her via video? Sigh.

  6. 6
    Nemo_N says:

    It’s incredible to see host after host trying either to blame The White House or at least going for the “both sides do it” BS… even after they themselves keep showing poll after poll supporting Obama.

    Their little brains can’t handle the possibility that the Kenyan Socialist has a majority of the support of the center-right nation.

  7. 7
    burnspbesq says:

    If you make the simplifying (and probably unfounded) assumption that the cuts are made smartly, it’s hard to see $50 billion a year less in defense spending as A Bad Thing unless you work for a defense contractor.

  8. 8
    MattW says:

    I think James Carville nailed it last week:

    Carville said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “The sequester, not many people know what it is, but it sounds stupid and cruel. Therefore people think it’s a Republican thing.”

    Stupid and cruel, the Republic brand in a nutshell.

  9. 9
    hitchhiker says:

    The president bet that the Rs were not stupid enough to do budgeting with a blunt instrument — that was the whole idea. The sequester would push them into at least trying to have a rational process.

    What’s truly amusing is that in losing the bet, he has once again exposed their essential stupidity, and the media cannot seem to grasp this. It’s not even difficult. That’s one of the ways we know the press is not paying attention to the same things the people are. To them, these Rs must be treated with respect and deference, and that means not pointing out that they are dumb as stumps.

  10. 10
    scav says:

    But they’ve got a system, every time they lose, they double-down — they double their bet. It’s unfallible, no?

  11. 11
    Tone in DC says:

    I truly hope more people (especially the “independent” and/or “swing” voters I am always hearing about) are paying attention to the sequester.

    The wingnuts’ sputtering over the deficit and the debt while hundreds of thousands of people are about to be furloughed or laid off ought to ring hollow to at least 73% of the people out here who aren’t wearing ideological blinders.

  12. 12
    TooManyJens says:

    @burnspbesq: It’s the “and probably unfounded” part that’s the killer.

  13. 13

    MSM pretends like it has the pulse of the nation, it doesn’t. They live in more of a bubble than the politicians do. They are completely out of touch.

  14. 14
    patroclus says:

    The Schiavo case was viewed by Americans as a private family issue despite the Republicans’ efforts to politicize it and have Congress intervene. The contraception insurance coverage/Sandra Fluke dust-up was viewed by Americans as a women’s issue that most had thought had been settled back in the 60’s despite the Republicans’ efforts to politicize it in order to win back Catholic Dems (who are with most Americans on this issue).

    This is sort of similar (as you describe) but it really is a budget issue, which is, by definition a political issue, so I don’t think it will be so seminal in its impact. If it is, the most relevant analogies, in my view, are: (1) the 2011 debt ceiling issue when the Republicans tried to default on the debt and tank the world economy; (2) the 1995-6 government shutdown when the Republicans tried to terminate the federal government in order to whack away at Medicare; (3) the 2005 privatize social security issue when the Republicans tried to destroy Social Security; or (4) the 2011 Medicare/Paul Ryan issue, when the Republicans tried to voucherize Medicare.

    This time, the Republicans are merely trying to take a meat cleaver to the Defense Department and to a wide spectrum of important domestic programs and impose austerity on the world economy despite its having failed around the world to generate growth/jobs. I think Americans will view this latest Republican insanity like they did the others – it will have salience around the country/world if it is implemented and prolonged.

  15. 15
    Face says:

    The problem is semantics. “Sequester” is a stupid poltical-ese word that laymen dont understand and just seems like a made-up Beltway word. Therefore, most low-informationers assume it’s just politics and has no effect outside of DC. Call it “Teacher Cuts” or some such in-your-face term and people will pay more attention. Just M2C.

  16. 16
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    The scum of the Village have no fucking idea how much they are hated outside the Beltway.

    They’re trapped in a bubble, just like the wingnuts, and very few of them even perceive it, let alone try to burst out. You’d think that Obama bypassing them to do local interviews would clue them in, but no…they’re arrogant assholes.

    Tumbrels cannot come a nanosecond too soon for these twits.

  17. 17
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I remember back when MSNBC was still mostly chasing the elusive “Fox Lite” viewer, a visibly angry Norah O’Donnell scolding an anti-war activist for “taking on this very popular president!”. Bush at the time was polling in the mid-forties, the public had largely turned against the war, but Katrina hadn’t hit yet. With the exception of the post-9/11 panic, it seems to me that the Village has been way out of step with the country since the time of the Clenis. I think that nonsense, and what I suspect is the increasing affluence/aspiration of the political press corps, colors their coverage more than even we hippies appreciate. David Gregory and Ben Smith learned how to look at politics from David Broder and Tim Russert, who were both on public record as saying that Clinton’s blow-jobs were a greater personal failing than Bush’s war.

  18. 18
    waynski says:

    Cant stop being the stupid party. Who will rid us of these meddling moran’s?

  19. 19
    Boots Day says:

    I could tell that was Halperin before I even clicked on the link.

  20. 20
    NonyNony says:


    The “low information voters”[*] that I know all know exactly what the sequester is and how it’s going to impact them. Because they’re all within 3 degrees of separation from someone with a government job or on a government contract for the DoD who is looking to be “sequestered” into unemployment for possibly a few months (or longer).

    [*]”Low information voters” being a made-up Beltway term that either means “voters I have contempt for” or “voters who only care about politics once ever 4 years and spend the majority of their time worrying about more immediate concerns” depending on who’s using the term.

  21. 21
    Culture of Truth says:

    Suppose these were automatic increases in taxes on the rich, or a mandatory increase in health care coverage. If the Democrats went around claiming it was all really the Republicans idea, who would believe it?

  22. 22
    Eric U. says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: is it too soon to mention that Tim Russert was a Republican tool and crappy journalist?

  23. 23
    Another Halocene Human says:

    Speaking of Catholics, what about the revelation that the top anti-gay radical cleric in Great Britain had a coercive relationship with a priest (who sought counseling and quit). HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH! *wipes tears from eyes* bufafafhhhhHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  24. 24
    JWL says:

    I am a life long lib, born and raised in a lib section of the country (San Francisco Bay Area). For that, it’s always been tough for me to gauge the politics of the rest of America. But I do agree that the blame for this idiocy will fall squarely on the GOP, even in the South. The national party is going the way of the California republican party, and that movement seems to accelerate month by month. There’s a reason California is a deep blue state, and the political prowess of the state’s democratic party has very little to do with it.

  25. 25
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    I’m going to make a bold prediction. 11:59 on 2/28 the Rethugs will cave, do what needs to be done and make it sound like they pulled one over on that sneaky kenyan and the media will quote them verbatim without so much as a nod to the truth.

  26. 26
    SmallAxe says:

    slightly o/t but GOS has a bit about Cantor supposedly offering legislation to end the Federal mandate on overtime pay for hourly employees. Talk about a Schaivo moment especially coupled with the unwillingness to take up the minimum wage increase.

  27. 27
    Zandar says:

    1) Republicans do something vindictive and stupid
    2) Village says “Republicans are serious, anything bad from this is Obama’s fault!”
    3) Republicans believe the Village.
    4) Vindictive and stupid plan backfires spectacularly.
    5) Republicans become enraged at Obama.
    6) Go to 1.

  28. 28
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @Zapruder F. Mashtots, D.D.S. (Mumphrey, et al.): What about the fact that the Obamas pay for their own damn vacations and pay taxes, whereas the British royals are First On The Dole?

    Sounds like they are counting security for a sitting president as “expenses for their family”. The royals have security too but no way it’s on the POTUS scale. The British PM probably doesn’t need the kind of security the head of state and those in line require in the good old semi-automatic gun-totin’ assassination-threatnin’, prop-plane-flying-into-WH-grounds, Yew Ess Eh.

  29. 29
    mdblanche says:

    @TaMara (BHF):

    I’d say 12:01 on 3/1 is more their style.

  30. 30
    Face says:

    OT: Not to go all Goodwin here, but day’um that’s fast

  31. 31
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @SmallAxe: Fucking hell.

  32. 32
    Paul in KY says:

    @Zapruder F. Mashtots, D.D.S. (Mumphrey, et al.): Probably creative accounting. Alot of the Royal Family’s expenses are paid by the government.

    Thus, what the Royal Family pays for itself would be notably smaller than the actual maintenance amounts.

  33. 33
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Eric U.: Nope, and compared to his idiot son (O! Why isn’t self-satisfaction painful?) and fellow McCain fellator Tom Brokaw, he was an outstanding professional.

  34. 34

    If only Obama hadn’t shut out the White House press corps we wouldn’t be in this mess.

  35. 35
    danimal says:

    I don’t think the average GOP tea partier has any idea how messed up their messaging is on this one.

    Oh, the leaders know that they will lose this battle in substance and in the p.r. battle, but they believe that the little warriors “need to get it out of their system” and the sequester is actually less damaging (and more reversible) than a debt limit debacle or a full government shutdown. Boehner is probably playing a longer game (two years v. two newscycles) than two-term congressman TeaParty (R-State of Insanity).

    Once the conservatives face the wrath of the public and (ahem) some major GOP donors, they will either form a rump party or fall back in line. Either way, on the sequester and its aftermath, Obama and Pelosi will eat their lunch, again.

  36. 36
    Hill Dweller says:

    Republicans have spent the last 4+ years(especially the last 2) trying to tear down the country in hopes it will hurt Obama. More importantly, that has become accepted fact for most people.

    Also too, Obama has been ripping the sequester and Republican intransigence for weeks. No one actually believes he supports it.

    Republicans’ 11th hour attempts to absolve themselves looks ridiculous.

  37. 37
    Paul in KY says:

    @scav: In the reality-based world of ca$ino gaming, that stategery fails when you run out of double-down money.

    Unfortunately, not as cut & dried in politics.

  38. 38
    SmallAxe says:

    @Another Halocene Human:

    I just hope the Dems exploit this. That’s pretty cut & dry and a 47% moment to me if they shout it from the rooftops at every opportunity.

  39. 39
    danimal says:

    @NonyNony: “Low Information Voters” is Limbaugh-speak for the majority of Americans who fall for the charms of the Kenyan Witch Doctor-in-Chief and the supporting spin from the librul media conspiracy.

  40. 40
    Paul in KY says:

    @scav: Your comment got me in moderation with my reply. Used a naughty word for an activity where you usually lose your money :-)

  41. 41
    Maude says:

    @TaMara (BHF):
    I think you have a good point. This is a game of chicken.
    The Repubs just might back down at the last minute. The MSM will somehow blame Obama.

  42. 42
    Arrik says:

    Thanks for the Mark&Marc flashback Doug. A double-dose of smug wrongness that’s soooo right. “Hey you got Halperin in my Ambinder!” No, YOU got AMBINDER in my HALPERIN!”

  43. 43
    trollhattan says:

    @Boots Day:

    Doug’s snippet is breathtaking in its preening stupidity–two qualities difficult to find so perfectly wedded as here. I was guessing George effing Will, based on the capitalized “Notable.” Halperin certainly slots in with well-lubricated ease.

  44. 44
    Ash Can says:

    @TaMara (BHF): I’d be willing to bet that you’re absolutely right, but whether they can do it without coming off as complete putzes to everyone but their Beltway fluffers remains to be seen.

  45. 45
    Cacti says:

    And in the end, it comes down to the same problem.

    The GOP would rather wreck the economy than see the black man succeed.

  46. 46
    Paul in KY says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Definitely the fact that they all are stinking rich colors their commentary. They can see that Republican fiscal/tax policies are better for them (short term, and that’s all they care about) and like the venal shits they are, they ‘up’ that side just because it feathers their nests.

    VDE is right about how nasty they are.

  47. 47
    Steve says:

    I think it is difficult to scream about “Obama’s reckless spending” for four years and then suddenly convince the public to get angry about “Obama’s reckless spending cuts.”

  48. 48
    trollhattan says:

    @Paul in KY:

    I’ll see your cash eeno and raise you a gesundheit.

  49. 49
    Paul in KY says:

    @Eric U.: Please. Go right ahead…

  50. 50
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I would just like to take this opportunity to thank cleek for his pie filter, which has made reading this site a hell of a lot more fun and informative.

  51. 51
    Cacti says:


    I think it is difficult to scream about “Obama’s reckless spending” for four years and then suddenly convince the public to get angry about “Obama’s reckless spending cuts.”

    Equally difficult for Speaker Boner to shift the blame when he was crowing about getting “98% of what I wanted.”

  52. 52
    waynski says:

    @Eric U.: not too soon. And they’re allRepublican tools.

  53. 53
    Ron Thompson says:

    This is just such a perfect example of the Republican Party in action. They believe what they want to believe. They keep doubling up on their bets that the public will turn against Obama and therefore support them. Then their inevitable retreat from an untenable position will further embitter their internal discord, and lead to the next round of budgeting-by-crisis.

    It’s just as well that they don’t perceive it, because this bids fair to be the point where the Republican Civil War goes nuclear, as Boehner at some point in April will have to force through a sequester deal over the opposition of the majority of the Republican caucus.

  54. 54
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Arrik: Ha! I never knew Ambinder and Halperin worked together. Such a fine confluence of stupid it’s a wonder Politico didn’t put them back together.

    @trollhattan: I don’t remember, but I’d be surprised if GWill was on the fundies’ side in teh Schiavo mess.
    Was that “Notable” a thing with Halperin? like his would-be ink-stained-wretch affectations like calling Obama “Bams”?

  55. 55
    Birthmarker says:

    @burnspbesq: Cramer on CNBC said last week that the big defense contractors signed off on their contracts last year, so the cuts have to come from other areas of the military. (Don’t know if that is true, but do you doubt it?)

    My next door neighbors said they have been told there would be 30% layoffs. They are civilian army employees.

    Personally, I think sequestration would send a message to the economically entrenched that the spigot is being cut down to a dribble. After sequestration, I would like to see the military budget frozen at that level for about a decade.

    My personal favorite moment of the Shaivo debacle was when some breathless reporter said that Bush had gone to bed, but had instructed that he was to be awakened if necessary to sign any congressional legislation . (If you recall he rushed back to Washington for the crisis.)

    A new level of absurdity, most certainly.

  56. 56

    OMG. Today I went into my ob/gyn for my annual and I had already decided before I went in I needed to talk to her about what’s happening in our government as it affects women’s health. I think she wanted me out of there so damn fast! But really, what she told me was both shocking and at the same time stuff I already knew. For example, ever since our two main non-profits, St. Thomas Hospital (catholic) and Baptist, merged, you cannot get a tubal ligation at either hospital. Nor can you get birth control. She said, starting January 1, 2009, she could not perform those procedures there. These are hospitals that get my tax money for Medicare and such, but they are still inflicting their archaic beliefs on patients.

    Anyway, I’m going to do a post on it later.

  57. 57
    David in NY says:

    @Boots Day:

    I could tell that was Halperin …

    Me too, but I was — a little — surprised at Ambinder.

  58. 58
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Nope, and compared to his idiot son (O! Why isn’t self-satisfaction painful?) and fellow McCain fellator Tom Brokaw, he was an outstanding professional.

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Grew up watching Brokaw and he seemed somewhat sane. Likely I was too young to tell.

    I do not know if he went batshit before or after 9/11 – I suspect it was before but cannot prove it from my poor memory – but goddamn the man has gone seriously off the deep end since Obama got elected. He combines a sneering partisan contempt for Democrats combined with a obvious and visible searing, over-the-top hatred of all young people that blends into something I’ve not really seen in the media before. In short, I don’t know what his fucking problem is, anyone got a clue? I’m genuinely a bit curious.

  59. 59
    Egypt Steve says:

    Maybe this question has been asked and answered, here or elsewhere, but here’s one of the many things I don’t understand about the Cat’lic Church’s objection to insurance that pays for abortion and birth control:

    “Insurance” is a form of compensation. It does not have to be used for things that the Church objects to, although it could be.

    “Money” is also a form of compensation. It, also, can used to purchase things that the Church objects to. In point of fact, the “money” that a Church employee gets from the Church can be used to purchase a great deal many more detestable, anti-Cat’lic things that than just sexy-time stuff. And the government absolutely insists that the Church pays its employees in “money” that is valid for “all debts public and private.” There’s no possibility that the Church could mint some sort of scrip that could only be used to buy approved products and services.

    So why is it a tyrannical violation of religious freedom for the government to require that “insurance” with which the Church partially pays its employees be valid for purchase of abortion/contraception, but not a violation of religious freedom to require that “money” be valid for the same?

  60. 60
    Punchy says:

    Not a mathematician, but I find it amazing that cutting less than 10% of the DoD budget causes the loss of so many jobs. Tells ya that the real money is baked into insanely costly projects and VA bennies and other inflexible shit.

  61. 61
    mdblanche says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: They also have a rolodex full of names of contacts from the era when the Republicans really were the dominant party and Democrats had to pick their battles (cough, John McCain, cough). They’re not going to toss that out and start making new contacts just because of what they still think is just a passing fad. You can’t expect big-shots like them to have to do so much grunt work.

  62. 62
    Calouste says:

    @Paul in KY:

    According to the Wiki, Betty Battenberg aka HRH QEII, gets 7.9 million pounds each year from the government, not counting costs for security and other things.

    20 times that would be about $240 million, which might be somewhere close to the total budget of running the White House and Camp David, which includes quite a few things more than just the President and his family.

    And of course Betty has access to the family fortune and estates, which is a decent pile of loot accumulated over 947 years.

  63. 63
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Southern Beale: Maybe as women this should be our next loud and proud movement: we demand that no hospital or institution can receive federal or state tax dollars if they discriminate against women in any way. Health, payroll, insurance, etc.

    I think the time has come (actually I thought it has already come and we dealt with it, but looks like we need to give them a refresher course).

  64. 64
    Paul in KY says:

    @trollhattan: If I lost that bet, make it 2 gesunteits!

  65. 65
    David in NY says:

    @Punchy: That hypothesis is consistent with the view of @Birthmarker: that the money for the big contracts has flown and won’t be affected.

  66. 66
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: In short, I don’t know what his fucking problem is, anyone got a clue? I’m genuinely a bit curious.

    I used to be a fan, and he used to be a fairly vocal environmentalist, always struck me as a decent guy, too. I genuinely believe that he–and Russert and Tweety– focused all their guilt about not serving in Vietnam, and their daddy/gender issues, on John McCain. The other two brought a lot of their tribal Catholicism to the Clenis affair, I don’t remember Brokaw’s stance back then. I really think he resents Obama for being mean to his surrogate war hero Daddy. Also, inventing World War II (ht Charlie Pierce) was enormously profitable. The way he talks about ‘giving people free stuff’, i.e. Medicare, would’ve been too crude for a Romney surroage.

  67. 67
    David in NY says:

    @Punchy: That hypothesis is consistent with the view of @Birthmarker: that the money for the big contracts has flown and won’t be affected.

  68. 68
    Seanly says:


    Cramer is wrong. Government contracts can always be stopped – it’s a part of the typical contract I believe. I work in the infrastructure market where we routinely have projects shelved (and sometimes unshelved) for a variety of reasons. I don’t think federal regulations would allow DoD projects to be under another set of rules.

    Almost all infrastructure work is done with agencies at the state or local level who have to comply with FAR which is federal rules for acquisition (and dissolution of contracts also). I just can’t see DoD operating differently. Not to say that some folks might use clout to keep one project going versus another one.

  69. 69
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Cramer on CNBC said last week that the big defense contractors signed off on their contracts last year, so the cuts have to come from other areas of the military. (Don’t know if that is true, but do you doubt it?


    @Birthmarker: This is largely true. Coming out of the hides of civilian employees, benefits, and subcontractors, but not prime contractors nor weapons systems.

    Those are untouched.

    I think we’re looking at 30% civilian layoffs if we’re lucky. Benefits are going to get cut to the bone, right at a time when they’re needed most.

  70. 70
    Raven says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Brokaw’s Blind Spot on Vietnam

    But one reads the Vietnam War sections of Brokaw’s book with a growing sense of amazement, disbelief and, ultimately, profound sadness. For Brokaw has, incredibly, managed to compile a lengthy book about the 1960s that barely mentions the central event which created and shaped it. A reader of Boom! would have no idea that U.S. leaders pursued a war that killed enormous numbers of Indochinese civilians and that this mass murder was the single most important factor prompting the various domestic convulsions we now call “The ’60s.”

    He’s from the front end of my generation and all that “Greatest” shit really sent him off the deep end. Fuck him.

  71. 71
    Paul in KY says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Money, money, money, money….mmmoooonnneeeyyyy!!!!!!

    Apologies to Roger Waters for butchering those lyrics.

  72. 72
    Paul in KY says:

    @Calouste: Thank you for that info. I stand corrected.

  73. 73
    Jay C says:


    Basically because it appears that most of the jobs that are scheduled to be cut/furloughed are mainly those civilians “directly” employed by DoD: uniformed personnel and a vast swath of “contractor” employees* seem to be relatively unaffected (probably for the reasonsBirthmarker suggests.

    One might hope that the general freakout of “sequester” cuts to the Defense budget might actually spark some serious discussion as to the actual economic effects (positive and negative) that this country’s insanely large military budgets entail: but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Republicans (and sadly, too many Democrats) are still inextricably wedded to the notion (usually expressed in hysterical and apocalyptic terms) that anything other than ever-increasing military spending will lead (probably in about three weeks’ time) to a Red Dawn-style invasion, and the utter collapse of the economy, the nation, society and probably the whole world.

    * i.e. “consultants” and mercenaries, or some combination thereof

  74. 74
    catclub says:

    @Birthmarker: “My next door neighbors said they have been told there would be 30% layoffs. They are civilian army employees.”

    And then, on Oct 1, they will rehire that 30% ?
    I doubt it. RIF’s take time.

    My understanding is 1 day per week furlough – so a 20% cut in employee costs for the period until Oct 1.

    Maybe that is what you meant by 30% layoffs. I understood it as firing 30% of the employees.

  75. 75
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    I used to be a fan, and he used to be a fairly vocal environmentalist, always struck me as a decent guy, too.

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Good, it’s not just me.

    I agree about the McCain/Daddy issues; I agree even more with the view about his writing on “The Greatest Generation”, i.e. his bullshit mythologizing of the WWII generation, Pierce was goddamn right about that. I knew plenty of WWII vets. Most of them were flat-out shitty people, in no greater or lesser percentage than the populace as a whole.

  76. 76
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Obama doesn’t give them the deference they think they deserve. Rather, Brokaw, Cokie Roberts, Andrea Mitchell, Tweety, etc. all act the same way toward Obama.

    People forget Obama was an outsider even in the Democratic party before becoming President. When he was a Senator, Obama would fly home every weekend, instead of going to Sally Quinn’s cocktail parties.

    I think both the President and FLOTUS despise the Beltway culture and most of the people in it. Said people sense it, and hate them for it.

  77. 77
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Raven: Nope, he’s another silent(Happy Days), born 1940.

  78. 78
    Roger Moore says:

    @Egypt Steve:

    So why is it a tyrannical violation of religious freedom for the government to require that “insurance” with which the Church partially pays its employees be valid for purchase of abortion/contraception, but not a violation of religious freedom to require that “money” be valid for the same?

    Because they can. Basically, insurance is typically negotiated by the employer on behalf of the employees. That gives employers the practical power to insert their own wishes between the employee and the insurance company, and religious bigots will happily take advantage of that to impose their beliefs on their workers. If they could go back to paying employees in scrip that could only be redeemed in the company store- and I assure you that many of them would love to do just that- you can bet there would be no contraceptives or pornography for sale there.

  79. 79
    Jay C says:

    @Zapruder F. Mashtots, D.D.S. (Mumphrey, et al.): @Paul in KY: @Calouste:

    Even leaving aside the fact that the House of Windsor (unlike, say, the House of Obama) has a considerable “private” income from all that real estate stolen accumulated over the centuries, gripes about (even the the relative) costs seem to always elide the fact that the White House, Camp David, Air Force One, the Secret Service, etc. all actually belong to the country, and the costs of operating them are pretty much going to be there whether they’re used or not. And, AFAICT, the Obama family hasn’t utilized notably more government resources than their predecessors.

    Most of this crap just reads like ODS in print: trying to paint the Obamas as irresponsible political moochers living large on the taxpayers’ dime. Maybe the President ought to take the bus next time…?

  80. 80
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Russert used to have a weekend show, and I swear he would have Brokaw as his guest once a month, every time he reissued that Greatest Generation book with a different title* and sometimes they would do a cutesy switch where “guest host” Brokaw would interview “special guest” Tim Russert. One time they did this with Russert’s father at the table, and after Pumpkinhead breathily explained, with goggle-eyed enthusiasm, that “guys like my dad, grew up in the Depression, went off and won that war, then came home, and built this country!” Brokaw turned to the old man with a pompous, exaggerated and condescending formality, “Mr Russert, sir?” The old guy kinda shrugged and said, ‘yeah, I got drafted, then I came home and got a job.” I think I would like to have a beer with the elder Russert.

    *The Ann Coulter publication model.

  81. 81
    JoyfulA says:

    @Another Halocene Human: And the royal family owns a large chunk of the country. The Obamas own a house in Chicago.

  82. 82
    raven says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: Yea, well, his jive ass sort of skipped signing up so double fuck him. Better?

  83. 83
    Poopyman says:


    Cramer on CNBC said last week that the big defense contractors signed off on their contracts last year, so the cuts have to come from other areas of the military. (Don’t know if that is true, but do you doubt it?)

    ‘Taint necessarily so. If the govt agency has funds allocated to the contract for the new fiscal year then I don’t think there’s much dange of losing the contract, although all bets are off if funding disappears completely.

    What’s happening right now, though, is that contracts in the pipeline are not being awarded since the agencies have no idea how much, if any, money will be available. Right now, contractors coming off of an ended contract and trying to move on to a new or extended one are finding that there just aren’t the slots that there normally would be. So we (yeah, I am one) are in limbo for now. Layoffs are a real possibility, and kicking the can down the road is not going to solve the problem.

  84. 84
    Calouste says:


    Not just the royals. I think there was an estimate that 20% of the land in England is still in the hands of descendants of the knights that came over with William the Conqueror. That a pretty good return on investment on a sword, a horse and a set of chainmail.

  85. 85
    IowaOldLady says:

    I have a friend in the FBI who says they’re trying to prepare for furloughs but they wouldn’t take place until April 1 because they have to give 30 days notice.

    My fear is that the sequester will happen and then the Republicans will introduce a bill to reinstate all the defense cuts. I don’t know how people would react. Politicians seem to fear looking anti-military, but most people have heard enough (possibly apocryphal) stories about thousand dollare toilet seats that they’re unlikely to think the defense budget has no waste in it.

  86. 86
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:


    I saw the writing on the wall when the Army finally canceled FCS / BCTM, and when I jumped I made sure it wasn’t in the defense sector. Between the economy (and associated sequestration nonsense), the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, and various other factors, defense is not going to be a growth industry for the foreseeable future.

    One of my recruiters was talking up a small group here that does mostly geospatial work, saying they were funded “through 2025” or something like that, when the truth is they’re funded until the next midterm election, if that long.

    Even though I’ve spent over half my career in the defense sector, our current pattern simply isn’t sustainable. I remember people bitching that the Curiosity rover on Mars cost $2 bn total, when I could point to no less than 8 or 9 defense projects that were going to spend $2 bn each in a single year.

  87. 87
    JenJen says:

    Hey, whatever Joe Scarborough feels in his gut, that’s what I’m going with. Especially if Barnicle backs him up. Amirite?

  88. 88
    ericblair says:

    @Grumpy Code Monkey:

    Even though I’ve spent over half my career in the defense sector, our current pattern simply isn’t sustainable. I remember people bitching that the Curiosity rover on Mars cost $2 bn total, when I could point to no less than 8 or 9 defense projects that were going to spend $2 bn each in a single year.

    My wish is that we get to a point in the political evolution of this country where we can have an industrial policy that doesn’t funnel every dime through the national defense sector out of political necessity. Most people doing defense work are doing project management, large-scale engineering, and operations and maintenance who (IMHO) can largely transition to civil infrastructure projects, where our needs are enormous.

    The sequester is a huge confusing poorly-understood clusterfuck at this point with random effects on people and projects. As a tool for long-term budget cutting it’s counterproductive, since it’s cutting efficiency initiatives just as much as everything else, and cutting maintenance is usually a bad idea for long-term health. I really doubt this is going to go on for long since it is seriously fucking with the big money jackoffs who’ve got Boehner on speed dial, and as people have said, showing what across-the-board major spending cuts actually do is not good for the goopers. Still, it’s a mess right now.

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    Gretchen D says:

    @Egypt Steve: That’s a perfect question. You’re right.

  90. 90
    Birthmarker says:

    @catclub: I took the comment as 30% layoffs. It is possible that they were given an exaggerated worst case scenario. Your plan makes a lot more sense and would be much less destructive. (I am so not versed on fed hiring practices.)

  91. 91
    mclaren says:

    With any luck, the sequester will produce such havoc that it will pound the final nail in the Republican Party’s coffin.

    I’m not counting on it, though, since that requires common sense and clear thinking from the infantile spoiled-rotten bully-worshiping American people.

    The ability to put together 2 and 2 and get 4 has never been one of the easily-distracted effortlessly-manipulated rage-o-holic American people’s strong suits. They typically paw at 2 and 2 like the apes fumbling at the black monolith at the start of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and eventually come up with 22.

  92. 92
    mclaren says:

    @Grumpy Code Monkey:

    Even though I’ve spent over half my career in the defense sector, our current pattern simply isn’t sustainable.

    That’s why the main result of the sequester will be to accelerate U.S. military spending.


    You’ll see I’m right.

    Take the most logical sensible outcome of any set of events and turn it around to the exact opposite: that’s what will happen in Shithole America. It always works.

    MLK got blown away, Nixon got elected. Dubya earned a 90% public approval rating after 9/11 while Al Gore got ridiculued for stating the facts about global warming.

    Never fails. The United Snakes of Amnesia is a hopeless case. It’s auguring in at Mach 6 on a power dive to self-destruction, and you can bet your ass Americans won’t miss this chance to hurry along their own collapse.

  93. 93
    TS says:


    I do like that the WH put out breakdowns of Sequester’s impact by state. This will make it easy for local news to cover.

    Which is – no doubt whatsoever – why it was done – wailing from the WHPC – why weren’t we told!

  94. 94
    Marc says:

    if Congress can do something to prevent a woman’s death, shouldn’t it?

    I’m sure Halperin said the same thing when Democrats pushed for health care reform, right?

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    Paul in KY says:

    @Jay C: Those comparisions are exactly what you said they were. They are BS designed for idiots to get huffy at President & FLOTUS.

  96. 96
    Paul in KY says:

    @mclaren: Mr. Mencken, is that you?! Have you returned like you said?

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