While we weren’t watching, Congress quietly passed a continuing resolution/omnibus bill to avoid a government shutdown and fund the government through FY 2015. The bill basically keeps spending flat and funds everything except the Department of Homeland Security, which will be the stage for a fight over Obama’s immigration orders.
I don’t have a problem with the budget, per se. Flat spending is OK, especially with revenues growing. Addressing the long-term problem is going to require entitlement reform, which is unlikely to happen while Obama is in the White House. But, as I said a month ago, I’d prefer the Republicans put together a reform package to balance the budget long term and force Obama to veto it.
What’s really gotten attention, however, are the riders on the bill, which are laws unrelated to the budget itself. I’ll go through them quickly.
The most controversial is the effort to block marijuana legalization in DC. It forbids the DC government from funding marijuana regulation. I think you can probably guess that I hate this provision. The DC voters decided to legalize pot. It’s ridiculous for Congress to override them like this and a worrisome sign that Republicans are going to fall on the wrong side of history. Again.
The bill increases the limits on what people can donate to political parties. I don’t really have a problem with this since organizations can give tens of millions if they want.
They have given some schools flexibility in how they meet the new nutrition requirements for school lunches. Considering that I think these new requirements are based on junk science and are going to leave active kids starving, I’ll take this baby step on the way to repealing the regulations completely.
They blocked the EPA from adding the sage grouse to the endangered species list. I don’t know much about this issue, but my impression is that the grouse is declining but not in danger of extinction.
They forbad the government from spending money painting portraits of government officials and committee chairs. Good. Let them pay for their own damn portraits. We pay them enough.
They extended the time that incandescent bulbs can be manufactured. Considering that I’m typing this by the dim light of a worthless CFC bulb, I’m fine with this.
They required the WIC program to include more fresh veggies. Sure.
They forestalled requiring truckers to get more sleep. I’m supportive of this law because I know someone who was nearly killed by a sleepy long-haul truck driver. This is one of those rare times I think the incentives are lined up badly and we need a regulation. Not that I expect truckers to obey it anyway; a trucker friend once showed me how to fake the logs to make it look like you’re getting the required sleep.
Some clean water rules are delayed in farming areas. Sure.
Gitmo prisoners can’t come to the United States. I’ve indicated that I would prefer these guys be tried, but that idea isn’t going anywhere.
They rolled back a provision of Dodd-Frank that forbids banks from using FDIC-backed money to trade in derivatives. This was one of the few Dodd-Frank provisions I liked. If banks want to play financial games, that’s fine. But I don’t want to have to bail them out when it inevitably blows up in their faces.
The bill blocks the IRS from targeting certain groups. This is fine, but I don’t see any reason why the IRS would obey a second law forbidding them from doing what they’re already doing.
The bill mandates sexual harassment training for Hill staffers. Sure. Everyone else in the country has to get sexual harassment training. Why should Congress be exempt?
So, a mixed bag overall. But what’s hilarious is that the liberals are screaming bloody murder over this, as if attaching unrelated riders to a budget bill is something that was invented this week. Our government has constantly done this. There’s even a phrase for it: land-mine legislation. Huge encroachments on our liberty are passed this way all the time.
And to complain about the DC marijuana initiative being shut down this way is blazing hypocrisy. Yes, I think it was a bad thing to do. But when Barack Obama used the “stimulus” bill to shut down the DC Voucher program, we didn’t hear a peep out out of the liberals. So should the government of DC only have sovereignty when they’re doing something you like?
I think we know the answer to that.
Shit comes back to bite you in the ass. The other day I had a post up on how the idiots in charge of Washington D.C. had passed a measure demanding Walmart pay any employees working in D.C. a based on a mythological leftist monster akin to the Lernaean Hydra of Greek mythology that they referred to as a living wage. Yeah, people that live in the real world and understand economics immediately would point out the absurdity of the concept and that there is no such thing. Now we find out, in a delicious but ironic twist of events, that people that live in glass houses shouldn’t be throwing stones:
Last week, the Council approved a measure that would require Walmart and other large retailers doing business in the District to pay a “living wage” of $12.50 per hour.
But… uh oh. Hypocrisy alert.
District government pays less than $12.50 per hour.
According to the D.C. Department of Human Resources, some full-time school maintenance workers and custodians make $11.75 per hour. The rate for a clerk at the University of the District of Columbia is $10.40.
Council members went to great lengths to criticize Walmart’s pay scale. They should have taken care of their own business first.
The Council’s thinking is flawed on other accounts, too. Their law targets Walmart while exempting other businesses from paying higher salaries.
Here is a better idea: Raise the current minimum wage in D.C. — $8.25 per hour — for every worker. Scale it up incrementally over time.
As if this wasn’t blatantly obvious that what the D.C. autocrats did was specifically targeted at fucking over Walmart, and entity the left abhors, because its business model flies in the face of all the faerie tales about labor, wealth redistribution, empowering the poor through government handouts, and centralized administrative economics, and had nothing to do with helping anyone. But it bears repeating to point out that whenever you see leftists grandstanding about some bullshit, it is very likely they are the worst enablers or agents of whatever they are so pissed of at.
Women have come a long way (in Non Sharia compliant countries of course) in modern society, the right to vote, the right of choice wrt their own bodies, and the right to show the world what boobs they are by publicly exposing their boobs:
There have been historical marches upon our Nation’s capital in the past, but none like this one! For the first time in the history of our nation, women will remove their bra in public for no other political agenda than the right of baring their chest in public.
Gotopless women have chosen Aug 26, 2012 for this revolutionary event because Aug 26 IS Women’s Equality Day. Almost one hundred years earlier on that day, our constitution was giving women the equal right to vote. Today, in the second decade of the 21st century, women have a new equal rights struggle: the right to go barebreasted in public
Nothing says ,”I deserve respect” more than removing your top in public. This is why the Muslim world hates us. And what better place to really show your independence from a patriarchal society then a city that already allows your risky stunt. As an obvious necessary accommodation to members of Congress, boobs in public have long been legal in the District of Columbia.
Those on the west coast who can’t afford the gas money to drive east shan’t be left out. The same clenched fist in the air/women power will be exercised in Venice Beach next month, Wahoo.
At this moment on Venice Beach women cannot go topless, so in complete constitutional equality, the men will cover their chest as well. Will men with bikini tops look ridiculous? Maybe, but constitutionally, so do women in this double standard legal topless battle.
Before anyone marks their calenders and plans for a day of ooggling, any man more then say 14 knows that there are some truly grotesque breasts out there, and consistent with the practice that unusually ugly women are usually the one’s that make a public outcry against rape, for every nice rack exposed there will be 10 gag reflexers. Don’t believe me? Here is the Breasts Not Bombs demonstration they had in Berkeley a few years ago. Don’t blame me, I’m just the messenger.