New federal gun-control legislation has been declared all but dead on arrival this week. Gridlock in the U.S. Senate, where a super-majority of 60 votes is needed to move most legislation these days, is proving to be an insuperable barrier to any meaningful change in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre.
Should the United States government be allowed to assassinate its own citizens? That question was in the air briefly not long ago. April 4 is an excellent day to revive it: On April 4, 1968, the government was part of a successful conspiracy to assassinate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
There was never any question that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel would have to wield the budget axe—simple fiscal and political math guaranteed that—but many wondered how he would swing it: Would he chip away at the edges of the defense budget, like Robert Gates? Or would he make just enough cuts to claim that the Pentagon had already paid at the office when sequestration rolled around, like Leon Panetta?
When the White House releases its fiscal 2014 budget request on April 10, the Office of Management and Budget will include a report laying out official spending levels set by legally binding caps for defense and domestic bills.
Today, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel delivered his first policy address and called for reshaping Pentagon strategy and budgets to meet future challenges and opportunities. His call to take advantage of the “opportunities that exist to fundamentally reshape the defense enterprise to better reflect century realities” is an effort widely supported by military leaders, outside experts and leaders from both parties.
No one said it was going to be easy – being a progressive that is. Social movements, simply stated, are hard work that takes time. Patience. Fortitude. Perseverance. Those are hardly the buzzwords of our 21st century, 24-hour news cycle environment.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel – following a path blazed by his deputy, Ash Carter – will kick back up to 14 days’ pay to the U.S. Treasury to replicate the pecuniary pain sequestration will inflict on fellow Pentagon civilians. “He will voluntarily subject part of his salary to furlough levels even though he’s not required,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said Tuesday.
Even as state officials scramble to put in place major health reforms for 2014, a new proposal to guarantee medical care as a human right and create a single-payer system for all citizens is moving toward a Colorado vote.
Exxon Mobil said that one of its pipelines leaked “a few thousand” barrels of Canadian heavy crude oil near Mayflower, Ark., prompting the evacuation of 22 homes and reinforcing concerns many critics have raised about the Keystone XL pipeline that is awaiting State Department approval.
The Capital Beltway, a politically iconic and locally vital highway, is dying beneath your turning wheels.
Under the surface of all but some recently restored segments, fissures are spreading, cracks are widening and the once-solid road bed that carries about a quarter-million cars a day is turning to mush.