Tales from the Trail

U.S. government shutdown bad for courts, judges warn

March 15, 2011

Nearly all trials and other federal court proceedings might come to a halt if the U.S. government shuts down because Congress cannot agree on the budget, the federal judiciary’s policy-making body warned.

Washington Extra – Podium pieces

March 9, 2011

We learned a thing or two from briefings around town.

– White House spokesman Jay Carney has a sister, and today is her birthday. He announced it from the podium. “I spoke with her this morning, and we are very close.” LIBYA-USA/

Washington grow up? Don’t hold your breath

February 15, 2011

President Barack Obama said he wants a mature discussion between politicians of all stripes as the White House and members of Congress try to make tough decisions on spending and taxes necessary to run the government and deal with a ballooning budget deficit.obama1

A Senate Christmas tale

December 15, 2010

(UPDATES with new Reid comments).

Christmas bells are ringing. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t seem to be listening. Much to the chagrin of staffers and more than a few senators, Reid is threatening to keep the Senate in session until Christmas Eve and beyond to finish all the legislative work that Congress failed to complete before the November elections.USA/

Health expenditure around the world

March 18, 2010

Health at a Glance 2009, a report by the OECD, shows that the United States spends more on healthcare than any other country.
Here are some figures on what leading economies spend on health care per capita, both in public and private schemes. The latest figures are from 2007 and are adjusted for purchasing power parity.

from MacroScope:

Watch out for the G20 spin

March 30, 2009

Be careful this week about buying wholeheartedy into any G20-related spin about supposedly savvy, free-spending Britain and America doing more to combat the world economic crisis than supposedly stubborn, overly cautious Germany and France. The actual figures show it is much more complex than that.

from Global News Journal:

Obama gets rockstar welcome at town hall meeting

March 19, 2009

President Barack Obama on Wednesday stepped out from behind the podium, took off his suit jacket and dispensed with the teleprompters to defend his budget, attack Republicans who label him a tax-and-spend Democrat and express outrage at the bonuses paid at insurance giant AIG.
 
Obama, who has made no secret of the fact he chafes in the White House "bubble" and enjoys engaging directly with Americans, headed west to California to hold a town hall meeting in Costa Mesa, a town of about 113,000 in Orange County that has been hard hit by the recession. 
 
Obama's critics say his comments expressing outrage at the AIG bonuses and other Wall Street scandals lack passion because they are often scripted and read from a teleprompter.
 
But on Wednesday, Obama sounded like he was back on the election campaign trail as he rounded on Republicans for criticizing his $3.5 trillion 2010 budget, which he says is crucial to tackling the worst economic crisis in decades.
 
"Most of these critics presided over a doubling of the national debt. We are inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit. So they don't have the standing to make this criticism, I think, given how irresponsible they've been,"  he said.
 
Under the glare of hot lights in an uncomfortably warm hall at Costa Mesa's state fairgrounds, Obama invited his audience to ask him questions and feel free to take him to task and tell him if he was a "bum and doing a bad job".
 
But there was little danger of that. When he entered the hall, he received a rockstar welcome.
 
Obama at times spoke with passion, his voice rising above the cheers, while he was at times professorial, explaining credit default swaps and mortgage-backed securities and breaking his promise to keep his answers short as he explained how and why America's economy had plunged to such depths.
 
Despite the fact that he has only been in office two months, one of the first questions he fielded was from a woman asking him if he would run for re-election in four years' time.
 
"I would rather be a good president taking on the tough issues for four years than a mediocre president for eight years," he replied.
 
And if he fails to deliver on his promises on health care, education and fixing the economy, then it will be the voters and not he who decides whether he runs again.