News Roundup

Did I read that the Obama administration is agreeing to Social Security cuts? I just don’t understand what the administration is doing. Craziness on a grand scale. Liberals have been replaced by conservative Republicans!!!! AAuugghhh….

From Robert Reich:

Sure, March’s employment report was a big disappointment. But it’s hard to see any direct connection between those poor job numbers and the sequester. The government  has been shedding jobs for years. Most of the losses in March were from the Postal Service.

Take a closer look, though, and Americans are starting to feel the pain. They just don’t know it yet.

That’s because so much of what the government does affects the nation in local, decentralized ways. Federal funds find their way to community housing authorities, state unemployment offices, local school districts, private universities, and companies. So it’s hard for most Americans to know the sequester is responsible for the lost funding, lost jobs, or just plain inconvenience.

A tiny sampling: Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts is bracing for a cut of about $51 million in its $685 million of annual federal research grants and contracts. The public schools of Syracuse, New York, will lose over $1 million. The housing authority of Joliet, Illinois, will take a hit of nearly $900,000. Northrop Grumman Information Systems just issued layoff notices to 26 employees at its plant in Lawton, Oklahoma. Unemployment benefits are being cut in Pennsylvania and Utah. (more…)

From Steve:

On the Korean Peninsula: “American and South Korean troops increased alert levels on Wednesday as South Korea’s foreign minister warned that North Korea could launch its medium-range Musudan missile ‘any time from now.'” U.S. defense officials are also “highly confident” that North Korea is planning the imminent launch of a medium-range missile.

Now that there’s a bipartisan agreement on key elements of the gun-safety legislation, will Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) drop his filibuster threat and allow the Senate to debate the issue? Of course not.

NLRB: “President Obama announced three nominations to the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday to complete a package of five nominees — three Democrats and two Republicans — that the administration hopes Senate Republicans will approve to end the board’s unusual limbo.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R) office probably ought to be a little more circumspect about “Gestapo” references, especially given how little we know about the recordings leaked yesterday.

Remember the presidential candidate who supported expanded background checks for firearm purchases in 2000 and 2004? His name was George W. Bush. Why did the Texas Republican hate our freedoms and disregard our Constitution?

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) appeared at a press conference yesterday, but when reporters asked about ethics allegations surrounding the right-wing congresswoman, aides “ushered her out of the room,” and did so while blocking reporters and photographers from the lawmaker.

A Republican county commissioner in Kansas admits to using the “n” word during a commission discussion last week, but says that doesn’t make him a racist.