Links Roundup

The third ranking Democrat in the House doesn't know the Constitution or history.

Rep. James Clyburn and a group of House Democrats are urging President Barack Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling if Congress can’t come up with a satisfactory plan before the Tuesday deadline.

Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, said Wednesday that if the president is delivered a bill to raise the debt ceiling for only a short period of time, he should instead veto it and turn to the phrase in the Constitution that says the validity of the U.S. government’s debt “shall not be questioned.”

And of course, the phrase cited is a product of the time it was passed–it refers to debt accrued by the US during the Civil War at a time when the states in rebellion could not have voted to incur that debt–it ensured that the South could not challenge paying for the debt on the basis of not having been represented.

“If that’s what lands on his desk, a short-term lifting of the ceiling, the debt ceiling, he should put it on his desk next to an executive order,” Clyburn said at a press conference. “He should sign an executive order invoking the 14th Amendment to this issue.” The Associated Press reported that he was applauded when he suggested the idea at a caucus meeting earlier in the day.

"I believe that something like this will bring calm to the American people and will bring needed stability to our financial markets,” Clyburn added, noting that President Harry Truman did it once during his presidency after Congress was unable to pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling.
And this is completely spurious.  Not only did Truman not unilaterally, in some way, raise the national debt ceiling, but his administration is the only one since the beginning of WWII in which there was no rise of the debt ceiling.

Not quite a New or Blue Moon–just a Trojan Asteroid.

Turns out the moon's not the Earth's only traveling companion. Space scientists have discovered an asteroid that's been following our fair planet for thousands of years, at least — and there may be many more where it came from, according to a recent study.

If other so-called Trojan asteroids are found, they could turn out to be ideal candidates for a visit from astronauts, something NASA hopes will be possible within the next 15 years.

Most of the asteroids in the solar system populate the belt of rocky debris between Mars and Jupiter. But planets can pull asteroids into their orbits, too. More than 4,000 Trojan asteroids have been discovered around the gas giant Jupiter, along with a few around Neptune and Mars.

Desert Vision.

The U.S. Army Driver’s Vision Enhancer-Family of Systems (DVE-FOS) program now has a second supplier (BAE) to help with production (and keeping prices down). The army and marines are buying nearly two billion dollars worth of DVE equipment. DVE is an infrared (heat sensing) system that consists of a 2.5 kg (5.5 pound) sensor, and a flat panel display that shows the driver what is in front of the vehicle, despite night, fog, smoke or dust. DVE can spot standing man in a sandstorm at 190 meters, while at night, in clear weather, a stationary vehicle can be seen at 1,700 meters (over a mile).

The army has already bought over 40,000 DVEs in the last six years, so that the equipment could be used on a wide variety of vehicle and in all possible conditions. Current deliveries will equip just about new trucks and MRAPs. There are actually four different models of DVE. DVE Lite is for trucks the cart troops and supplies around. DVE CV is used by combat vehicles. DVE TWV allows the sensor to be moved around, to search a wider area, and is used by wheeled combat vehicles (Stryker and MRAP). There is also a variation of the DVE TWV, used specifically to detect enemy activity, like someone placing roadside bombs or mines.

Oh, Baby, baby, It's a Wild World

The Obama administration says Osama bin Laden's death has raised the risk of anti-American violence worldwide.

The State Department said in a global travel warning Tuesday that Americans should take precaution and maintain vigilance about terrorist threats, demonstrations and the possibility of violence against U.S. citizens.

Someone Lacks Some Self-Perception…

Within the GOP, Boehner won support from McCain, who ridiculed conservatives opposed to his plan, using lines from a Wall Street Journal editorial to make his point.

"The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the Tea Party hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor," he said the article continued.

"This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell into GOP Senate nominees. The reality is that the debt limit will be raised one way or another, and the only issue now is with how much fiscal reform and what political fallout," McCain added, still quoting the Journal.

 Makes me wonder what the "crack political thinking" was that made McCain the GOP nominee for President in 2008, given that he was every bit as successful at Angle and O'Donnell.  I'm no less guilty of post hoc, ergo propter hoc reasoning anyway.  I can assure you, though, that standing on principles is NOT the common factor.

Those of us who may be "Tea Party hobbits" are content to fail on principle than to win by compromising them.  But one has ot be able to recognize a principle to understand that to begin with.

H/T to DaveinSoCal Commenting at Protein Wisdom

Six of one….

The U.S. government will foot the bill for half of all health care costs in the United States by 2020, according to a government report released Thursday.

That's up from 44 percent just two years ago, and reflects both the rising cost of health care and the fact that millions more people will have access to it under health reform, said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.Total health care spending is expected to nearly double to $4.6 trillion in 2020 from $2.6 trillion in 2010.


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