After all the calculated posturing and speech-making had been made, the Senate today finally approved a bipartisan budget agreement. Americans can only hope the deal signals a shift from the animosity in Congress rooted in the tea-party movement’s domination of the Republican Party.
The House overwhelmingly voted for the budget agreement, 332 to 94, a week ago. The Senate followed suit today by a 64 to 36 margin. That welcome result was signaled Monday when 12 Republicans joined 55 Democrats to exceed the 60-vote procedural threshold needed to allow the bill to be approved by a simple majority.
So much for the United States government being the only one in the world that has perfected the art of being nosy. It was recently reported that the government of France spies just as much on its friends and its own citizens as we do.
In tribute to this age of eavesdropping, I present the following lyrics to the tune of the Yuletide classic, "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
Do you know what we hear?
Would the NAACP would invite a member of the Ku Klux Klan to speak (“At Swarthmore, Jewish group sets own path,” Dec. 14)?
I support open discussion and have attended many debates through the years which usually involved some vitriolic exchanges. But it stands to reason that Hillel would not want to pay for speakers that deny the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state.
Many supporters of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement are protesting more than just Israel’s presence on the West Bank.
Michael Griffin was fired from his faculty position at Holy Ghost Preparatory School because he is gay and in a committed relationship which he and his partner wanted to celebrate. Apparently, the contract at the school “requires all faculty and staff to follow the teachings of the church.”
So what of employees who are having sex outside of marriage? How about the folks who cheat on their income tax, a form of stealing? Oh, and what if someone does not go to mass every weekend?
How about the gossips who engage in slander? Or those who covet their neighbor’s spouse, or the new Lexus in a friend’s yard?
It's great that Long Island native Billy Joel, an artist who has traditionally been in high demand in the New York area, has signed a Las Vegas-style music franchise agreement with the 18,000-seat Madison Square Garden to play monthly concerts there as he sails off into the twilight of his super-brilliant career.
With Atlantic City in dire straits due to burgeoning gaming competition, I’ve often wondered why any casino company couldn’t sign Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band to a similar long-term contract to play at the 14,000-seat Boardwalk Hall.
Imagine that, instead of touring, Bruce was to anchor himself in the gaming capital of the East Coast and force his worldwide following to come to legendary Jersey Shore: How that would revive the city and its image.
By tomorrow, Americans may know who really calls the shots for House Republicans in Congress — their selected leaders or the Koch brothers.
The House may vote Thursday on bipartisan budget legislation crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Wisconsin. If the deal is approved, it would mean a truce in the debilitating budget wars between Democrats and Republicans. The impasse has kept them from seeing eye to eye on almost any subject for the last two years.
This new agreement isn’t perfect. For one thing, it doesn’t include an extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed, which is essential to keeping the economy on the right track. But as President Obama noted, not getting everything you want is “the nature of compromise.” Ryan and Murray deserve the nation’s gratitude for stepping out of their partisan roles to reach an agreement.
As City Council negotiates the final details around a Philadelphia Land Bank ("Philadelphia Could Make History With Land Bank Plan," Nov. 25th), it's important they stay focused on a key goal of this historic reform: transforming our vacant and blighted properties into opportunities for jobs and economic growth.
Philadelphia's 93,000 small businesses are important drivers of our economy, providing over half of private sector jobs. But our current broken land acquisition and development process stands in the way of the start-up, prosperity, and expansion of these important stakeholders. Right now, a business owner who wants to transform a vacant property is encountering bureaucratic barriers at every step. Those barriers send a message that private investment is not welcome here.
Despite the deterrents, the 400 business members of the Sustainable Business Network have made significant investments in Philadelphia, and their work is paying off. Our city is growing a unique local business culture, and new sustainable businesses are attracting private capital and providing jobs.
From Harold Jackson's Under the Sun blog on inquirer.com
Listening to the eulogies this week for Nelson Mandela and reflecting on how he put aside some of his own beliefs as a rebel fighting against South Africa’s apartheid government to become a promoter of reconciliation and cooperation, I keep being drawn to thoughts of the political division here in our country, and wonder if we will ever get past it.
President Obama, speaking at the memorial service for Mandela in South Africa today, said “It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well -- to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion and generosity and truth. He changed laws, but he also changed hearts.”