Quote of the Day: "Sequestration is coming. It's coming." - Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
THE STORY: President Obama asked Congress to do him a favor and delay automatic spending cuts set to happen soon and pass a new package of smaller cuts and tax increases instead. His Republican friends on the Hill thought about it for half a second. Better luck next time, Barry.
WELL, WHAT DID HE ASK FOR?: A small package full of spending cuts and tax increases that would delay the automatic cuts set to kick in March 1. The president didn't call for higher income tax rates on the wealthy but asked to close tax loopholes and end certain deductions that he thinks only the rich enjoy. Obama warned he was attempting to save thousands of jobs that would be left in the lurch come March.
WHOA, WHOA WHAT'S HAPPENING MARCH 1ST? A series of automatic spending cuts known as "the sequester."
I JUST FELL ASLEEP. WHAT? The sequester is a product of a 2011 deal to raise the debt ceiling and was supposed to start on Jan. 2 but because of that other mess known as the fiscal cliff, was delayed until March 1. One fiscal problem at a time, people. About $85 billion in cuts would start next month and then a new round of $110 billion in cuts would start in October. Obama's request comes after the Congressional Budget Office warned that although the economy is doing some good right now, federal debt will still hit historic levels if more isn't done to help it out. The cuts will affect defense, education, transportation and more.
OK, EASY AS PIE, THEN. Well, some people don't like pie. Or the words "tax increases." Obama lost House GOP support at that. House Speaker John Boehner said it's too bad Obama didn't bring some presidential leadership to the table. They also just LOVED the fact that Obama didn't submit his budget on the day it was due. Other Republicans said if Democrats have ideas for smart cuts they should bring them up, because so far no one's impressed.
THE WHY (DO I NEED TO SKIMM?): The Real Hillwives of Washington never fail to bring the drama. Obama's push to avoid the sequester is a pretty good sign that efforts to make much bigger deals with the GOP on spending cuts and raising revenue are not likely to happen soon. Agree with him or not, Obama had a point that the continued political dysfunction is doing no one and no economy any favors.
REPEAT AFTER ME...What people are horrified by... A powerful earthquake struck off the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, triggering a tsunami. Officials are still trying to gauge the damage, but at least four people were killed and homes were destroyed.
What to say after a fight... I did the crime, I'll do the time. What not to do? Skimp on the punishment. Watch your Twitter feeds, it looks like Team Breezy may go on blast again. The LA district attorney alleges that Chris Brown, who was ordered to 1,400 community service hours as part of his 2009 sentence for assaulting RiRi, faked his service hours. So where do they say Chris was while he was supposedly cleaning up trash? On a plane to Cancun or just coming from Dubai. According to prosecutors, Mama Breezy even covered for him. Brown's attorney has asked that the prosecutors be sanctioned. If you don't have anything nice to say...so I'll stop here.
What to say while planning a trip... Let's go somewhere we haven't been in a while. That's the diplomatic spirit of late. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a historic trip, marking the first visit to Egypt by an Iranian president since Tehran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. Mah's trip was supposed to show things are on the mend with Egypt ever since that country elected an Islamist to lead them last June. But it's doubtful that the jaunt will substantially improve ties between the two, when there's so much to fight about like Syria and Israel. And it all comes back to the Holy Land, where President Obama is headed this spring in his first trip to Israel since elected prez. Nothing like some Jewish guilt to bring you back.
What to say when you get your fifth manicure free... Happy times are here again! Dell announced the biggest leveraged buyout since the financial crisis. The computer company is going private in a $24.4 billion deal led by its founder, Mr. Dell, and investment firm Silver Lake. As a new, private company, Dell will try to give itself an oxygen makeover to compete with Apple envy, without Wall Street's glare (meaning they can lay people off and slash parts of bad business). This is Mr. Dell's most drastic effort yet to turn around the company he started in his dorm in 1984. Apparently I spent too much time going through the course catalogue, not enough time becoming a billionaire.
What to say on the slopes... I will do whatever I can to avoid being airlifted out of here. Pro skier Lindsey Vonn crashed and suffered a season-ending right knee injury during a run at the world championships. Vonn is no stranger to medical mishaps on the slopes and has even sliced her finger while opening a champagne bottle after winning a race. We've all been there -- alcohol related injuries that is, not the winning part.
What to say when you get caught bringing water through security... Don't shoot, I'm not with al Qaeda! An Obama administration memo, first brought to light by NBC News, concludes that the US can order the deaths of American citizens believed to be in cahoots with al Qaeda, without clear evidence that they're actively plotting against the US. One legal expert said that the White House will act as "judge, jury, and executioner." Seeing some constitutional red flags? Yah, you're not alone. Experts say this takes the definition of national self-defense and what an imminent threat means too far. The memo also offers deets about the controversial expansion of US drone strikes against al Qaeda suspects abroad and those aimed at American citizens. Well, I certainly feel in the mood for Freedom fries now.
SKIMM FAVOR: We forgot to celebrate Pancake Day. You can send some to Skimm HQ or just pass along theSkimm to 5 friends. We'd prefer the latter.
BIRTHDAYS: Jessica Lagrange (Chicago, IL); Kris Humphries (New York, NY); Wynter Mitchell (Los Angeles, CA); Jamie Penn (New York, NY)
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