Video of the day

History of the earth in 1 minute 37 seconds.  Very cool (and available in HD if you click on settings).

What really happened

Good satire is often more true than any reporting.  Here, Andy Borowitz gets it absolutely spot-on:

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—Official Washington was in celebration mode on New Year’s Day after kind of averting a completely unnecessary crisis that was entirely of its own creation.

“This deal proves that if we all procrastinate long and hard enough, we can semi-solve any self-inflicted problem at the very last minute in a way that satisfies no one,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).

But even as Sen. McConnell basked in self-congratulation, he warned Congress against the complacency that could come with having sort of fixed its own completely avoidable mess.

“This is a new year, and much work remains to be done,” he said. “It’s up to us to concoct entirely new optional disasters that we will have to undo at some later date in a more or less half-assed way.”

In a related story, an arsonist received an award for putting out his own fire.

Photo of the day

Recent National Geographic Photo of the Day:

Picture of a fox sitting in the snow, Dutch Harbor, Aleutian Islands

Fox, Aleutian Islands

Photograph by Gregory Gooding, My Shot

A fox sits on a snowy hill near Dutch Harbor in Alaska‘s Aleutian Islands.

Chart of the day

Andrew Sullivan had a chart of the year competition.  This was the very deserving winner:

Defense_Budget

That said, the following chart (from CBPP) is from 2010, but surely there was a 2012 version worthy of inclusion with the nominees.  In my book, you can never go wrong with some version of this for understanding the long-term issues the US faces:

 

An important footnote

The Republicans have had a principle for a number of years that a Republican Speaker would only bring forth legislation that had a majority of the majority.  I.e., only if a majority of the Republican caucus supported a bill would the Speaker allow a vote to be held on it.  Good for Boehner for doing the right thing and emphatically breaking with the principle last night:

The measure, brought to the House floor less than 24 hours after its passage in the Senate, passed 257 to 167 with 85 Republicans joining 172 Democrats in voting to allow income taxes to rise for the first time in two decades, in this case for the highest-earning Americans. Voting no were 151 Republicans and 16 Democrats.

I presume we’ll shortly see all sorts of speculation on what this means for Boehner’s future as Speaker.  And let’s just be clear, those Republicans were voting against extending lower taxes to 99% or so of Americans because they objected to the increase on the 1%.

Why we had to go over the cliff

It’s really quite simple and I wish everybody had not been pretending otherwise.  Oh, and by the way, we went “over the cliff” yesterday and somehow the world did not fall apart.  Worst political metaphor ever?

I’m not going to put this all on Grover Norquist, but his recent tweet really does say all you need to know:

Quite simply, there is simply no way Republicans vote for this absolutely same deal on Dec 31, 2012.  Yes, of course that’s nuts.  Yes, it’s like worrying about how many angels on the head of a pin.  Yes, that’s life in today’s Republican party.

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