~Thick and fast they came at last, and more, and more, and more!
Here’s your news on the half-shell for this week. Belly up to the oyster bar!
Busting a Move
Elizabeth Warren, the new Democratic Senator from Massachusetts has been up front with her declaration that she’ll be a senator of consequence. To that end, she plans to start off her freshman year with a bang. Or a bust. She wants to bust the filibuster. Republicans in the senate have effectively rewritten the spirit of the Constitution which requires a simple majority to get things done – to a supermajority of 60 senators. Hence, the senate hasn’t gotten nearly as much accomplished as they might have. So, on one special day a year, the first day the Senate convenes, a window opens when rules are decided. And the window is only open for that one day. So, the plan is to get this reform through the window before it’s too late and it slams on our fingers.
Who else might be on board with the filibuster reform? Well, if past history is any indicator, we’ll be able to rely on at least one senator from the Great State of Alaska – Democrat Mark Begich. He’s thrown his support behind the effort in the past. Let’s hope he does so again.
Speaking of Mark Begich, if you believe everyone, and everyone they know, then you’ll be bracing for the gaggle of Republicans lining up to take him on in two years for the Senate seat. And if you’re Mark Begich, and your strategy is to secure your position by getting a lot of stuff done in that time, then this sounds like a great thing to put on your “to do” list – solve the oft mentioned Social Security shortfall.
…if one wants to make the program solvent indefinitely without endangering vulnerable seniors, there are options. A new bill from Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), the Protecting and Preserving Social Security Act, provides one method.
The Begich bill would lift the current payroll tax cap, which exempts wages in excess of a certain amount ($110,100 this year) from the tax. In turn, it would give high earners, who would pay more, additional benefits upon retirement, just as benefits increase as wages do for workers below the cap.
According to the Congressional Research Service, a change like that would almost entirely wipe out the program’s long-run actuarial imbalance. Specifically, it would eliminate 95 percent of the shortfall, meaning that a mild increase in the payroll tax rate from 12.4 percent to 12.5 percent would be enough to cover the tiny remaining gap. And without any changes at all, the program would be able to pay out full benefits until after 2085. Indeed, the exhaustion date for the trust fund following such a change is so far in the future that CRS didn’t even calculate it.
It was just another of the many stories on Morning Joe about the Petraeus sex scandal involving Jill Kelley (the Tampa Party Planner who raised the ire of Petraeus’ mistress), and the FBI agent who sent her a creepy topless picture of himself next to two equally topless and bullet hole-ridden mannequins – but then, it got personal.
Speculating what awful fate might become of this disgraced agent, Mike Barnicle predicted that he should be expecting a call from on high transferring him to… Anchorage, Alaska.
Captain Zero Rides Again
Our illustrious governor made it on to the Ed Schultz Show this week. Well, his mug shot did. He was in the lineup of idiocracy – Republican governors who have decided to opt out of setting up a state run health care exchange, instead leaving it up to the federal government. First, he turned our coastal zone management over to the feds, and now our health care exchange. Yeah, that’ll show those leftists who want the feds all up in our business!
He’s on the bottom row. On the left side.
Mudflatters may remember Rep. Bill Thomas from that time that our Contributing Editor Linda Kellen Biegel took him to the woodshed. I’m sure Mr. Thomas remembers it.
And you may remember his challenger Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins from a recent piece by contributor and former Senate candidate Scott McAdams.
After election day, Thomas led the race by two votes. Yes. Two.
And now after some absentee and questioned ballots have been counted, the race is tied. Yes. Tied.
We will have to wait for Monday for the next round of ballots to be counted, so do whatever you need to do – say a prayer, wear your lucky socks, burn a bundle of sage… and wait.
Here’s your moment of Alaska.
Though most people have no need for such a lesson, a 31-year-old Palmer man recently learned the hard way that it’s a bad idea to repeatedly try and goad Alaska State Troopers into a fight.
Bobby Roberts called 911 at 4:27 a.m., Nov. 4 demanding troopers respond to his residence and fight him, Alaska State Troopers report. Troopers called him back and declined his invitation.
But it didn’t end there, and it didn’t end well. Read the rest in the link.