Sunday brought us a great article from Jonathan Martin, et. al. about the insurgents and how they are funding themselves in Congress. There is so much here. So. Let's. Do. It.
1. We are seeing the sunsetting of K Street's hold over Congress. There is more money in 'purer' ideological factions in Congress. Can you believe that former big wigs like the Chamber of Congress are in competition with the Heritage Foundation's Heritage Action and Club for Growth?
2. They are funded, in large part, by grass roots movements. It's not the SuperPAC nebulous donor situation we are talking about here. In the case of the Senate Conservative Fund, very conservative candidates are put on the primary rolls against (sometimes) Republican incumbents who are not as conservative... to vote them out. This brings us Marco Rubio, at a minimum.
3. The factions in Congress can go both ways. There is a great interactive map that shows us where they are and how they vote.
4. Possibly, has Karl Rove of Crossroads GPS lost control of the conservatives he has brought in? Maybe, maybe not...
Teri Gross did a great interview for those of you who want more... It's riveting stuff! My only complaint: I really wish we had more information about the factions within the Democrats. I want to know what those blue dogs and those who back the populist sentiment in the Occupy movement are up to; and are they falling in line behind Obama, who is more centrist than the more liberal elements had hoped for?
Closing in on a day rife with class warfare, federal spending, and a cash strapped and over extended government, I stumbled upon this Op/Ed on politico.
You know what I love about this... it's simple. How many of us have told our kids, our friends, ourselves that the solution is frighteningly simple. Increase taxes or decrease spending. Or hell, both.
Here is more direct advice. A lesson from baseball, the great American pasttime...
1.) Analyze what works and what doesn't.
2.) Spend money on what works.
3.) Cut funding on what doesn't.
Many non-profits have been on this basic bandwagon. A personal favorite, from the Concorde Coailtion, has some great teacher resources. This includes a quick 30 minute version of I.O.U.S.A.
And for those of us who have problems with big numbers, (like me!!) here is a great visualization from some kids dorm room. Thanks!
Yes, there are problems. Here is a great analysis of what is wrong, beyond just the website.
Started my morning click-clacking over my keyboard when a friend on FB alerted me to this amazing little info-graphic... about income inequality. I jumped in for the five minutes (and then felt like puking)... and then decided to do some more digging. 'Cause, why not?
So he talks about socialism and capitalism... and when I think socialism and capitalism, I think <<CRASH COURSE>> (check this guy out on youtube. Ah---maaaaa-zzzziiinngggg... (fast, but funny. And good)
So now that we have that under control, maybe we can talk about what it feels like to be poor? I am all about sympathy, but empathy is so much more powerful. Have your kids play Spent... It's quick, it's easy, it's depressing...
And then once we have set the stage, we can start talking about what the government does with all of this. Perhaps, we can look at this awesome Rolling Stone Article about the history of taxation, which is definitely pulling for the left, no doubt about it. Reminds me of that Will Rogers quote from the Great Depression... "The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy."
How do I balance this discussion? Do we go to Mundell and Laffer for the "Laffer Curve" and give supply-side economics? I do think that my Economics Book does a good job giving a fair shake to this theory...
So there you have it, folks. Your piece of the American Pie.
I read Molly Ball's article last Friday on Ted Cruz's galvanizing influence on the GOP. Here is a great little summary of Ball's coverage, in a nice neat little package for your students. It has great ties to understanding the third party as agents of change or splitting votes.
To hear that Conservatives are parroting Cruz's agenda, from the novice members to the party elite (like Dick Cheney)
Pretty interesting stuff here. I know you are thinking it. Cruz in 2016?
The ever-evolving saga of Boehner's leadership is now entering a fevered pitch. Shockingly, even Obama is remarking publicly on the Speaker's lack of ability to control his caucus.
Yesterday was to be a big deal for Boehner, presenting the latest proposal from the GOP to his caucus. The above newspaper article from the Orange County Register catalogs the daily ins and outs of the latest proposal, from opening hymns of Amazing Grace to the final KO from the House Rules Committee to table the bill indefinitely. (Note the time is PDT, so +3 hrs).
The National Journal has a nice article written from two journalists who were in the halls of Congress yesterday, from an eye witness perspective.
So, if this is the case, where do we go from here? Politico says no where but towards a default. Some members of Congress say, "No big deal." (Like Rand Paul) Perhaps the Treas will be able to find some creative accounting after all, even though they stressed they do not have the ability to do so. There is not even consensus in the public, as evidenced by the poll taken by the Pew Center below.
And in the fall out of all of this (if we even make it past October 17th and beyond), where do constituents look to place the blame? Incumbents, beware. I guess the only good news to Obama is that the term limits save him from the humiliation of rejection by the American people. Can't say the same for his friends and foes over on the Hill.
Speaking of incumbents, probably my favorite blame game quote comes from a Boehner insider... And if I look to the timeline above, is it conspicous that Cruz and Lee skipped the GOP Senate luncheon yesterday? I wonder what they have up their sleeve today for floor discussions about the Reid-McConnell bill... Perhaps this angle will save the Speaker?
Asked how Boehner gets out of this mess, a GOP lawmaker close to Boehner responded, “With a clear, consistent history of what actually happened. … to remind everybody we had a grand strategy until Cruz played the stupid card.”
I went away for the weekend to a place without Internet access, thinking *possibly* things would be better. So, there was no grand deal reached, but as you know the Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, who get more play as friends by the media than Obama and Boehner (but only by a slim margin), have taken center stage.
Question is, will the House take this bitter pill? Politico does a great job laying out the big three scenarios for us, complete with pros and cons.
Interestingly enough, Boehner won't let us know where he lies, House Tea Partiers are unable to say how they will vote, and Cruz, Palin, and Lee rallied supporters on the mall to point out the hypocrisy in spending federal dollars to keep Vets out of the monuments.
Heard an interesting blurb today. Some members of Congress don't think that default would be all that bad; that we could prioritize spending.
Whether or not it is doable or not, here is a break down of what we do owe...
Here is a brief explanation from a few TPers who explain this belief. (And if you need a basic rundown of the default, here is a gr.)
Depends on who you talk to. Obama says no. GOP says perhaps. Even the market experts can decide. Bloomsburg Business gives us a run down on what might happen, which they say is not in the post-apocalyptical range.
Our first SCOTUS case on the docket is possibly the most important one to me... Campaign Finance Legislation. OMG. Don't get me started on this one. I will have lesson plans up later in the year as I approach that topic. Probably around early November.
I couldn't wait, though. This is one of those issues that just gets me going. Maybe you, too.
Frontline did a great job looking at this during the last fall election cycle. That would be "Big Sky, Big Money." It is so good, that I do have my students watch this full episode of frontline. There is so much to talk about in this, but there is a great interview of Jim Bopp, one of the lawyers who brought Citizens United to the SCOTUS.
And just in time for this court case, the Sunlight Foundation released new research on Koch brother backed special interest.
Scalia. What a dream. No one else comes close in entertaining me quiet like he does.
He gave an exclusive interview to New York Magazine in advance of the new term, with all kinds of views into the elusive man. He likes Seinfeld. He dislikes ladies cursing and Facebook.
Here are some other great nuggets about Scalia:
Scalia Dissents, a catalog of some of Scalia's greatest and wittiest dissents, is all the rage in legal circles. A great nighttime read.
Last year, law student and musician Derrick Wang composed the opera Scalia/Ginsberg to immortalize the relationship between Scalia and Ginsberg, who are actually very close friends when court is not in session.
Hope you enjoyed a little SCOTUS trivia!
Photo via Flickr/Ted Eytan