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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 37,305

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Americans’ reaction to sequestration might change course of politics

Already, a decade of budget deficits run up in war and economic crisis has saddled the government with a $16 trillion debt, a bill that will force the country to come to grips with how much government it wants and how much it wants to pay for it at the very time the aging baby boomers put new strains on the budget through such vast programs as Medicare and Social Security.

Now the government is about to start cutting spending in some programs, offering a first look at how the American people will react.

If people feel the sting of the so-called sequestration with fewer teachers at their schools, more time in airport security lines and smaller checks for people without jobs, they might rise up and send a clear signal that the country really wants to keep all of the government it now gets and perhaps feed a demand that the government charge more in the form of higher taxes.

If, however, the majority of Americans don’t feel any pain from the cuts, if they either don’t see an impact or don’t empathize with federal employees enduring unpaid furloughs, they’d likely invite more moves to cut spending. That would bolster the Republicans.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/03/01/184621/americans-reaction-to-sequestration.html#storylink=cpy

Obama plans to nominate Walmart Foundation head Sylvia Mathews Burwell to head the White House OMB


WASHINGTON, March 3 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama plans to nominate Walmart Foundation head Sylvia Mathews Burwell to head the White House Office of Management and Budget on Monday, sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

Burwell, 47, is a veteran of Bill Clinton's White House and has helped steer philanthropic efforts while at Wal-Mart's headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Burwell would replace Jeffrey Zients, who has been serving as acting director at the White House budget office, known by the acronym OMB.

The move will reunite her with another Clinton White House veteran, Jack Lew, who was Clinton's OMB director for a time and was recently confirmed as Obama's treasury secretary.

7-year-old suspended for allegedly shaping pastry like a gun

A seven-year-old has been suspended from school for two days for shaping a breakfast pastry into a form a teacher identified as a gun. Josh Welch, of Baltimore, says he wanted to shape his strawberry tart into a mountain, but "it didn’t look like a mountain really." (We appreciate the creativity but play with broccoli, Josh! Pastries are delicious!) A sharp-eyed teacher reportedly got "visibly mad" and sent Josh home for two days, saving the other students from absolutely no threat whatsoever.


There are bills in the house and the senate to raise the SS cap and Obama campaigned on this issue.


Protects our Seniors, Pushes for Common-Sense Fiscal Planning

As deficit-reduction talks continue, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today reintroduced his bill to strengthen Social Security while making it clear that budget cuts should not undermine the promise this country has made to our workers and seniors.

Begich was also pleased that Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives. Together, their bills would extend the solvency of Social Security for approximately 75 years by requiring higher-income Americans to pay Social Security on their earnings all year long and just adjusting the formula for cost-of-living increases to better reflect the needs of our seniors and persons with disabilities.

“Our seniors deserve to have the certainty of knowing that the benefits they worked hard to earn will be there when they need them. And this bill isn’t just about protecting our seniors it is also about common-sense long-term fiscal planning,” said Sen. Begich.

“The current debate over our federal deficit should not be used as an excuse to cut benefits or privatize Social Security, which operates off its own independent revenue stream and does not contribute to the federal deficit,” said Congressman Deutch. “Social Security is fundamentally sound, and with modest adjustments, the system can continue protecting all Americans from destitution resulting from old age, an unexpected disability, or the death of a breadwinner.”


WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama revived a 2008 campaign promise on Friday, telling the crowd at an AARP forum that he would be open to raising the level of income on which Americans pay Social Security taxes.


So why the insistence that there is nothing wrong with SS? Why aren't they saying there is a problem and this is the solution?


LONDON (AP) -- Online note-taking service Evernote Corp. says it has been hacked and is resetting all its 50 million users' passwords as a precaution.

The Redwood City, California-based company said in a post published late Saturday that an attacker had been able to access sensitive customer information and that every user would have their account reset "in an abundance of caution."

Evernote says the attacker was able to access an unspecified number of customers' encrypted passwords. Decoding such passwords can be difficult but is far from impossible.

The company says it has seen no evidence that any customer data had been tampered with or that any payment information had been compromised.


Does raising the cap for SS work if we do it at the expiration of the trust funds?

Or will that not be enough by then?

20 years of build up would seem to fund a lot more than expecting to change it at the last minute.

In other words will that fix be inadequate if not implemented in a certain timeframe?

3D printing with stem cells could lead to printable organs

Some day in the future, when you need a kidney transplant, you may get a 3D-printed organ created just for you. If scientists are able to achieve that milestone, they may look back fondly at a breakthrough printing process pioneered by researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland in collaboration with Roslin Cellab, a stem cell technology company.

The printer creates 3D spheroids using delicate embryonic cell cultures floating in a "bio ink" medium. They end up looking like little bubbles. Each droplet can contain as few as five stem cells. Basically, this comes down to the printer "ink" being stem cells rather than plastic or another material.

Dr. Will Shu is part of the research team working on the project. "In the longer term, we envisage the technology being further developed to create viable 3D organs for medical implantation from a patient's own cells, eliminating the need for organ donation, immune suppression, and the problem of transplant rejection," Shu said in a release from Heriot-Watt.

Perhaps most importantly, the stem cells survived the printing process and remained viable. Shu says this is the first time human embryonic stem cells have been 3D printed. Printing out organs may be far down the line, but it's just one potential application. The method could also be used to print out human tissue for drug testing.


A new explanation for the racial wealth gap

The wealth gap between black and white families is one of the most striking facts of American life: As of 2009, the median wealth of white households was $113,149; for black households, it was $5,677. And more to the point, the wealth gap persists even when you compare households with similar annual incomes.

Sociologists cite a number of factors to explain why. One is that historical patterns of discrimination have prevented wealth from accumulating in black families over the generations. Another is that, all else being equal, black families tend to live in lower income neighborhoods where home values—a principle source of wealth—don’t appreciate as quickly.

Princeton graduate student Rourke O’Brien thinks he’s found another reason. In a paper published last month, he argues that middle and upper-income black families don’t accumulate wealth as quickly because rather than investing their money, they give more of it to poor friends and relatives.

This idea has been around for awhile, but O’Brien’s paper is one of the first to test it quantitatively. Middle-income blacks are more than twice as likely as middle-income whites to have a poor sibling and more than four times as likely to have parents below the poverty line. And because of these relationships, they’re called upon more often to provide financial assistance.

This chart from O’Brien’s paper shows the magnitude of the difference. Black families earning more than $100,000 a year are about twice as likely to have given money to friends and family compared to white families.

- See more at: http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/brainiac/2013/01/a_new_explanati.html#sthash.VifJKl6i.dpuf

College graduates are the new unskilled worker

The youth unemployment rate for newly minted college graduates in the 20- to 24-year-old age bracket is at an all-time high of 60.6 percent, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Department of Labor.

This raises the question of whether students can find meaningful employment after graduation with the degrees they currently have.

According to a study done by the Department of Education, the average debt-load per student is $21,600 at schools where students study art, music and design. The loan payment for this amount of debt would average out to $250 a month. Even after five years of work experience, graduates that make $40,000 a year would still feel an earnings crunch.

But do math and engineering majors fare any better? They do somewhat.

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce conducted an analysis on government education data that found that people are much more likely to get a job out of college if they choose a major with a clear career path, such as business. They also stand to make a lot more money if they choose a math or science major over liberal arts.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/education/285471-college-graduates-are-the-new-unskilled-worker#ixzz2MI3KaRRC
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

Governor to announce EFM decision tomorrow; State takeover of Detroit possible

Posted: 1:46 PM

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says he spoke by phone with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder today. He says the governor will announce his decision regarding the possible appointment of an Emergency Financial Manager for the city of Detroit on Friday.

The mayor said, "Everybody's got a pretty good idea of what the announcement is going to be."
When asked whether he expected the governor to announce the choice of an EFM, Bing said, "Not immediately."

Earlier today, WXYZ reported that Mayor Bing said the governor would announce a state takeover on Friday. The mayor says he did not make that statement and a review of his comments indicates that he did not specifically say a takeover would be announced.

"I shouldn't make the announcement, the Governor will make it," said Bing while talking with reporters following a speech before the Detroit Regional Chamber at the MotorCity Casino.

Read more: http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/region/detroit/detroit-mayor-dave-bing-says-governor-rick-snyder-will-announce-a-state-takeover-on-friday#ixzz2MF2cLV1f - See more at: http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/region/detroit/detroit-mayor-dave-bing-says-governor-rick-snyder-will-announce-a-state-takeover-on-friday#sthash.2X8KsrG2.dpuf
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