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Tags: Sequester

Obama’s Team Thinks the Public Doesn’t Know What the Sequester Is?



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From Mike Allen’s “Playbook,” a.k.a. that other political morning newsletter:

THE REASON PRESIDENT OBAMA is giving an economic address tomorrow (in Galesburg, Ill.), per a briefing by senior administration officials: People feel stable, but not secure. Since the inauguration, the administration has had to deal with the Middle East, gun safety and Snowden, and reporters have given attention to Benghazi and the IRS. So Obama wants to stop, grab the political debate and turn it to what he sees as the most important issue: growing the economy from the middle out, not the top down. Looking ahead to budget battles with Congress this fall, he’ll lay out the stakes, but won’t get into legislative tactics. He probably won’t use the word “sequester,” since many listeners wouldn’t know what he was talking about.

Is that last line sarcasm, or an actual expression of senior administration officials? Are they admitting that their “beware the horrors of sequester” campaign failed so spectacularly that the public at large not only isn’t upset about the spending cuts, but that they in fact forgot or never learned what it is?

If the public perception of the sequester is so casual and accepting, and the electorate has proven so persistently resistant to the administration’s usually effective scare tactics . . . and if the administration has grown so frustrated with its inability to shift public views on this topic that it has effectively dropped the issue . . .

. . . doesn’t the sequester represent the single biggest win for the cause of limited government in many, many years? And for that matter, for Republicans?

Tags: Sequester

Spared by the Sequester: Obama’s $60 Million to $100 Million Africa Trip



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Spared by the Sequester: “$60 million to $100 million” for President Obama’s trip to Africa later this month.

Of course, foreign diplomacy has always been a presidential duty, and both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush made presidential visits to multiple African countries.

When Bush visited Liberia, Ghana, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Benin in 2008, the national debt was $9.3 trillion; when Clinton visited Tanzania and Nigeria in 2000, the national debt was $5.6 trillion.

Today the debt is $16.7 trillion; some voices in Washington are elated that this year’s deficit will be “only” $642 billion, merely the fifth-largest annual deficit in American history after adjusting for inflation, ranking behind… 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

 

Tags: Barack Obama , Sequester , Diplomacy

I Hope They’re Good T-Shirts.



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Spared by the Sequester: $27,654.47 for “screened t-shirts” at the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Tags: Sequester

Spared by the Sequester: Catfish Inspections, $500K Hotel Stays, New U.S. Drone Complexes



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Jazz Shaw notices more spending “Spared by the Sequester”: $14 million per year for catfish inspections.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department spent $500,000 on lodging, hotel conference rooms. and other services in San Jose, Costa Rica; the cost is associated with President Obama’s May 3 visit.

Oh, and there’s a new $16.3 million “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Complex” to be built at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Despite the dire warnings, the Sequester has not yet required President Obama to look for loose change that fell behind the Oval Office couch cushions.

Tags: Drones , Sequester , Government Waste , President Obama

61 Percent Say the Sequester Has Had No Impact on Them So Far



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This morning’s big polling news focuses on the public’s reaction to the recent scandals . . . 

Majorities of Americans believe that the Internal Revenue Service deliberately harassed conservative groups by targeting them for special scrutiny and say that the Obama administration is trying to cover up important details about the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans last year.

But a new Washington Post-ABC News poll also finds that allegations of impropriety related to the controversies have yet to affect President Obama’s political standing.

But buried in the Post’s survey is a look at whether the American people feel the sequester is affecting them. They asked, “Have you personally felt any negative impact of these [Sequester] budget cuts, or not? Has it been a major effect or minor?”

The survey found 37 percent said they had felt its effects; 18 percent said major, and 19 percent said minor. The majority, 61 percent, said they felt no effects.

Two other numbers worth keeping an eye on: approval of how Hillary Clinton handled her Secretary of State duties is down from 68 percent in December to 62 percent today. The survey found 38 percent say the federal government is doing more to protect the rights of average Americans, while 54 percent think it’s doing more to threaten those rights.

Tags: Sequester , Polling

Look Out! Sequester Air-Traffic Delays!



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Okay, this time, they really mean it: The pain and suffering of Sequester has hit:

Commercial airline flights started backing up and delayed some travelers Monday, a day after air traffic controllers started going on furlough because of government spending cuts.

Good heavens! Why, let’s check on the Federal Aviation Administration web site, to see how terrible and horrible those Sequester delays are . . .

Hm. As of 9:40 a.m., there are 15- to 45-minute general delays at Reagan National, Newark, and Teterboro, and longer delays into LaGuardia. Everywhere else, it’s 15 minutes or less.

In other words, it’s Monday.

Tags: Sequester

Spared by the Sequester: $18.8 Million for Philippine Economic Development



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I’m not vehemently opposed to all foreign aid; targeted and administered correctly, it can do a lot of good.

But we live in an era of $16.7 trillion in national debt. Ideally, we would be contemplating cuts to low-priority taxpayer-funded programs to help Americans and cuts to low-priority taxpayer-funded programs to help foreign citizens. But between those two, the priority doesn’t seem that difficult. At the very least, I think we could use foreign aid as leverage with regimes that have been uncooperative in the recent past, like Egypt and Pakistan. Foreign aid is a gift, not an entitlement.

(As I’ve mentioned in the past, I wonder if the U.S. suspended all foreign aid to all countries for one year, whether other countries would be more appreciative when we reinstated it . . . or whether some countries would protest and/or riot outside U.S. embassies, believing they have a guaranteed right to financial assistance from American taxpayers.)

Non-disaster, non-crisis aid to help a country like the Philippines, which is usually on friendly terms with the U.S., seems like something nice to give, but not something we need to give. If we were running a surplus, this wouldn’t be much of an issue. But every dollar that is spent today is, theoretically, a higher priority than the Defense Department civilian employees getting furloughed, or the need to keep certain illegal immigrants in detention centers, or White House tours, or any of the other examples of spending cut under the sequester.

Today’s bit of federal spending “Spared by the Sequester” is $18,897,868 to the Asia Foundation to administer programs in the Philippines:

The COMPETE Project is intended to contribute to higher growth through the better provision of infrastructure, increased competitiveness of key industries, and increased access to credit. USAID will support measures that lower transport and logistics costs, reduce the cost of electricity, and promote the expansion of businesses in the priority sectors identified in the Philippine Development Plan, primarily in tourism and agribusiness.

This contract was awarded today, April 5.

Tags: Foreign Aid , Sequester

Obama’s 5 Percent Solution for the Sequester



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Today’s Morning Jolt is big and busy — more tensions in North Korea, with a lot of unfilled positions at the U.S. State Department; our new national pastime of giving marital advice to strangers; a debate on fire about “A Movement on Fire”; and then this big gesture by the Munificent Sun King:

Obama’s 5 Percent Solution for the Sequester

Big question for the next news cycle: Is this covered as a bold, magnanimous, generous gesture on the part of our Munificent Sun God/President? Or does it get treated as a meaningless publicity stunt?

President Barack Obama will put 5% of his paycheck back into the federal government’s coffers in a show of camaraderie with furloughed federal workers, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

Obama, whose $400,000 annual salary is set in law and can’t officially be changed, will write a check made out to the U.S. treasury every month beginning in April. Since the mandatory across-the-board spending cuts went into effect March 1, his payment for that month will be paid retroactively.

Obama will give back 5 percent of all his paychecks from March to December, so we’re talking about $16,666.66 or so. That amount would cover the costs of Air Force One in flight for about five and a half minutes.

President Obama has a net worth estimated between $2.6 million and $11.8 million; he makes $400,000 per year before taxes, lives rent-free at the White House, pays absolutely nothing in official travel costs, and gets $169,000 to cover expenses, personal travel, and entertainment. The government pays for state dinners and other official functions, but the president pays for personal services like dry cleaning and food that he, his family, and personal guests consume.

But he’s giving up about $1,666 per month, so, hey. Shared sacrifice!

Erik Soderstrom offers a great graphic to illustrate it all.

Cameron Gray: “The auto pen will now use 5% less ink when signing laws.”

Cam Edwards: “5% fewer guns to Mexican Drug Cartels!”

Dave Weigel: “Can we give him TWO Nobel Prizes? #hero”

Oh, one more catch:

President Barack Obama could be able to claim a tax break for his decision to return 5 percent of his salary to the government.

Obama is giving back part of his $400,000 in salary in solidarity with federal workers facing furloughs because of budget cuts in the sequestration of federal funds.

Voluntary payments to reduce the public debt can be taken as deductions for charitable contributions, according to the Congressional Research Service.

At the 39.6 percent top federal tax rate — the one Obama insisted on last year — the $20,000 deduction for this returned pay would put $7,920 in tax relief back in his pocket.

If this happens, the government would pay Obama, who would pay the government, which would then pay Obama.

Of course, Obama won’t take the tax break. The point is that he, and his top donors, and a good portion of the people he interacts with every day, live a lifestyle where $7,920 in tax relief makes no real impact on daily life at all.

Tags: Barack Obama , Sequester

Spared by the Sequester: $3.8 Million to Improve Armenia’s Pension System



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Today the “Spared by the Sequester” spotlight falls once again on the Agency for International Development. On March 29, USAID awarded $3,881,188 to Chemonics International, Inc. to help implement reforms to Armenia’s pension system.

From the award notice:

Over the last number of years, the Government of Armenia (GOAM) with USAID’s technical support has consistently worked to make the country’s social protection system more efficient and financially stable.

The cornerstone of the GOAM’s old-age poverty reduction program is its new multi-pillar pension system. This 4 year activity will provide technical assistance to the GOAM to implement the new pension system to make it fiscally sound and sustainable. The efforts will result in an increase in the percentage of economically active citizens who contribute to the pension resources. The project will also assist the GOAM, to a limited and targeted extent, to design and develop an Integrated Social Services system (ISS). The Project will assist the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MLSA), the private sector, and civil society to implement the pension reform and to improve social services policy, benefits, and delivery systems.

Hey, when they’re done there, can they come back here to the United States and help us develop a fiscally sound and sustainable pension system?

Tags: Sequester

Spared by the Sequester: $11,000-Per-Classroom Audio-Visual Systems



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Today’s edition of “Spared by the Sequester” features $101,931.97 spent to upgrade the audio-visual equipment in nine classrooms of the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute.

The award notice states, “The classrooms are used for daily classes and accommodate approximately 30 students. The classrooms listed in the solicitation currently have outdated and inconsistent audiovisual equipment. This project will upgrade the audiovisual equipment in each room, ensuring ease of use and consistency.”

So when you see sentences in news stories like, “for law enforcement agencies all over the country, the federal budget cut put in place under the sequester could spell disaster,” note that part of the problem is that the government chose to cut areas like that, while continuing to spend money on things like an $11,000-per-classroom audio-visual system.

You’ll recall, of course, that the Senate considered a bill to give the president greater flexibility in administering sequester cuts. Only two Democrats voted for it, along with 36 Republicans.

Tags: Sequester

Under Sequester, Debt Is . . . $36 Billion More than Same Period in 2012



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Increase in the federal debt from March 1, when sequestration took effect, to March 19 of this year: $109 billion.

($109,134,270,782.20, to be exact.)

Increase in the federal debt from March 1, 2012, to March 19, 2012: $73 billion.

($73,223,651,961.17, to be exact.)

All figures from the Department of the Treasury.

Either tax revenues are way down from a year ago (surprising, considering the tax increases that kicked in January 1), or our overall spending rate is higher than a year ago even with the sequester, or both.

UPDATE: Campaign Spot reader Nick writes in with an explanation:

Federal tax revenues are way down compared to last March for a reason connected to the tax increases but not immediately obvious: tax filings are running well behind normal numbers. The IRS didn’t get important tax documents like Form 1040 Instruction booklets distributed in print until the beginning of March, over a month later than normal. Trying to read and follow that booklet online is a nightmare; most people who do their own taxes waited until they got printed copies to start preparing their taxes.

Tags: Sequester

The Sequester Fight, Not Following the Left’s Playbook



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The Thursday Morning Jolt examines the reports, and repercussions, of claims of chemical weapons being used in Syria, and then this development, closer to home:

Liberals Are Starting to Wonder if They Won’t Win the Sequester Fight After All

Sure, congressional Republicans have a long and distinguished history of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. And nobody should speak too soon; we’re only 21 days into the national Fallout 3 Simulation that is called the sequester.

But for now, there are some signs that the GOP actually handed the sequester right.

You’ll recall last week I wrote:

Nobody wants a government shutdown; thus it is extremely unlikely that you’ll see one. The GOP is winning the sequestration debate, or at least they think they’re winning the sequestration debate, because the public hasn’t really noticed the cuts. Certainly the markets don’t mind.; A government shutdown would be noticed and for Republicans, they would come across as not merely anti-waste but anti-government and a government shutdown would probably also be bad news for Obama.

Apparently both parties got the memo:

The U.S. Senate today passed legislation to avoid a partial government shutdown, in a rare example of bipartisan cooperation on federal spending. The chamber voted 73-26 to forward on to the House a measure that would keep agencies’ lights on through Sept. 30, the end of the 2013 fiscal year. Republicans there probably will clear it for President Barack Obama’s signature. Legislation currently funding the executive branch expires March 27, and without action by Congress, agencies would begin running out of money.

Now let me offer part of a column from Greg Sargent of the Washington Post, who is usually the last guy to declare that the Democrats are in trouble, and that the Republicans have played any cards right:

Maybe I’m wrong about this. But it’s looking more and more like progressives and liberals are going to be facing a tough question: Which is worse, indefinite sequestration or a grand bargain that includes serious entitlement cuts? Seems to me that sooner or later, major players on the left are going to have to stake out a position on this question.

With Republicans seemingly refusing to yield on new revenues, it’s looking increasingly as if they are going to stick with sequestration and gamble that they can ride out the politics until sequestration-level spending becomes the “new normal.” Brian Beutler has a gloomy take on why this is looking likely. Obama, of course, will continue to push for a “grand bargain” that trades entitlement cuts for new revenues, on the theory that the bite of the sequester really is going to be felt over time — the Huffington Post details that job losses really are starting to happen — which could force at least some Republicans back to the table.

It’s unclear to me which of those two endgames is going to happen. But one thing that appears very unlikely is the preferred progressive endgame: As the sequester grows increasingly unpopular, Obama and Dems rally public opinion to force Republicans to replace it with a deal that combines new revenues with judicious spending cuts that don’t hit entitlement benefits. I’m just not seeing any way this happens.

That means that at some point, liberals may well be faced with a choice — should they accept the grand bargain that includes Chained CPI and Medicare cuts, and join the push for that, or essentially declare the sequester a less awful alternative, and instead insist that we live with that?

If you need a moment to go, “mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha,” please take one.

Now maybe within a month or so, the public’s view will change, they’ll hate the sequester with a roaring passion, and endorse tax increases to avoid the continued pain of this 2 percent cut. Or maybe you’ll hear more of an uproar about the potential expense of the Air Force’s fantasy football league.

Tags: Barack Obama , Budget , Congressional Republicans , Sequester

Spared by the Sequester, So Far: Air Force Fantasy Football Program



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We have a “Spared by the Sequester” Champion, courtesy Streiff:

The Air Force Personal Center Services Directorate (AFPC/SV) is seeking sources for providing the Air Force installations a Fantasy Football Program. The AFPC/SV is comprised of over 100 installations worldwide. The Fantasy Football Program will be accessed by all Air Force Airman, Civilians and Family Members.

AFPC/SV request information and pricing on providing product branding, hosting, managing, and delivering all programs and materials related to running a Fantasy Football League.

Now, this is only a request for information that could, in the future, lead to a contract to provide the service; no money has been spent. Responses to the request for information are due April 10, and it is possible the Air Force Personal Center Services Directorate will not spend any money at all.

But… don’t ESPN and other sports web sites offer these games for free?

Tags: Air Force , Sequester

Spared by the Sequester: $24 Million for El Salvador



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Today’s edition of “Spared by the Sequester” features a new U.S. Agency for International Development contract with Creative Associates International, for an amount “not to exceed $24,841,411,” to support national crime prevention efforts of the government of El Salvador. The contract was awarded March 19; the project has a base period of three years and an option period of two years.

Now, we would all like the El Salvador crime rate to go down. As Duncan Currie wrote for NRO about the country back in 2011, El Salvador is “a shockingly violent country that, outside of neighboring Honduras, has the highest murder rate on earth. The figures are just mind-boggling: Last year, El Salvador suffered 71 killings per 100,000 inhabitants, making it far bloodier than Iraq or Afghanistan.” He added, “its civilian institutions — such as the police and the judiciary — remain dangerously fragile and plagued by corruption.”

But… is aid for El Salvador a higher priority than, say, scholarships for children of military personnel slain in of Iraq and Afghanistan? Or tuition assistance for members of the military? Or any one of the other government services being cut by the Obama administration as it administers the sequester?

You’ll recall, of course, that the Senate considered a bill to give the president greater flexibility in administering sequester cuts. Only two Democrats voted for it, along with 36 Republicans.

Tags: Foreign Aid , Sequester

Spared by the Sequester: $2 Billion in Unspent Stimulus Funds



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According to Recovery.gov, “Of the $804 billion awarded as of June 30, 2012, more than $2 billion appropriated by Congress expired — meaning the appropriations were not awarded or used within specified time frames. Agencies might also have adjusted an award amount with funds being returned to the agency. The expired funds are kept on an agency’s books for five years to cover invoices for the projects; at the end of the five years, the funds are returned to the Treasury.”

Why are they kept on the agency’s books for five years? It has been nearly four. If they haven’t spent that money on “shovel-ready” projects by now, how likely are they to spend it in the coming year? What, are they waiting for an invitation from one of the sequester-spared White House calligraphers?

Any chance we can get at those $2 billion to mitigate some of the sequester cuts that the public finds more irritating?

After all, it takes less than a million to cover the costs of White House tours. Certainly, we could take some of that $2 billion and use it to make sure the White House Easter Egg roll isn’t canceled.

By the way, the worst offender was the Department of Agriculture, with $764 million left unspent as of June 30. The Department of Energy left $241 million in stimulus funds unspent; the Department of Defense left $241 million, and the Department of Transportation spent $220 million.

If the Easter Egg roll is canceled, will the announcement be sent out by the White House calligraphers?

Tags: Barack Obama , Sequester , Stimulus

Spared by the Sequester: $704,198 for ‘Gardening Services’



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Today’s edition of “Spared by the Sequester” comes from the U.S. State Department, which has awarded a contract for $704,198.30 for “gardening services at a residence located in Tervuren, Belgium.”

It is, presumably, the residence of the U.S. ambassador to NATO, a considerable estate:

Truman Hall is a traditional Flemish country estate built in 1963 for Côte d’Or chocolatier Jean Michiels. The house is the residence of the Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and is named in honor of President Harry S Truman, one of NATO’s founders.

The design is the successful collaboration between Architect B. A. Jacquemotte and Landscape Architect René Pechère.

Pechère, one of the best-known contemporary landscape architects in Europe, transformed 27 acres of barren agricultural land into gentle hills and valleys, meadows, and formal gardens. A curvaceous cobbled drive, lined with roses, leads to the tree-lined approach to the residence. The home overlooks a sweeping lawn, towering cedars, English gardens and an herb garden. The lawn pavilion is planted with fragrant honeysuckles, roses, clematis, hydrangeas and wisteria. The original children’s playground, giant sequoia circle and maze are still effective landscape elements.

The contract is listed as covering “a base period of twelve months and four one-year option periods at the option of the Government.”

The contract was awarded yesterday, ten days after the sequester took effect.

Obviously, we want our ambassadors’ residences looking suitable to represent the United States, and this site is used for diplomatic purposes.

But for the amount the federal government spent on this contract for gardening services, we could keep the White House open for public tours for nine months.

Tags: Sequester , U.S. State Department

Sequester Scare Talk Crashes and Burns



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Tuesday’s Morning Jolt features turning point in the Cola Wars of New York City, an eye-opening report of taxpayer funds going to the Tides Foundation, and then this bit of surprising polling news:

Sequester Scare Talk Crashes and Burns

Well, that bit of White House messaging doesn’t seem to be working so smoothly:

The budget cuts in Washington have not hit home in America, at least not yet.

A plurality of Americans think federal spending cuts will have no effect at all on them or their families, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll. At the same time, as many Americans think the cuts will have no effect or a positive effect on the overall economy as think the cuts will hurt the economy, the survey found.

No, wait, it gets better:

Nearly half — 49 percent — of registered voters said the current cuts will have no impact at all on them or their families. Another 39 percent said the cuts would have a negative impact, and 10 percent said they would have a positive impact.

Independents and Republicans are more likely to see no effect headed their way.

Among independents, 52 percent expect no effect, 39 percent expect a negative effect, and 7 percent expect a positive effect.

Among Republicans, it’s 52-36-8.

Democrats are evenly split, 41-41 on whether the cuts will be negative or have no impact on their families. In a surprise, 14 percent of Democrats expect a positive impact for themselves, well more than independents or Republicans.

(INSERT SPIT TAKE HERE)

But here comes another round of scaremongering:

Twenty-three air traffic control towers in California are among more than 200 nationwide scheduled to close April 7 as the Federal Aviation Administration begins imposing $600 million in federal budget cuts.

It was unknown which traffic control towers would be affected when the automatic federal budget cuts in the so-called sequestration kicked in March 1, but the FAA last week released a list of airports, mainly small and medium-sized, that will be affected.

AAAAH! IT WILL BE JUST LIKE DIE HARD 2! SOMEBODY GET FRED THOMPSON! AAAAH!

But in the middle of a New Jersey newspaper’s coverage of the terrifying and scary cuts (“Dark Skies Ahead”), there’s this little detail:

Despite the fact that most airports in the United States do not have air traffic control towers, Essex County and Trenton-Mercer are near big international airports that have constant departures and arrivals, which cause crowded skies.

Most airports don’t have control towers? So just how many tower-less airports are out there? Oodles, to use the technical term:

According to the 2011-2015 National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS), released by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there were over 19,700 airports in the U.S. Of these, 5,170 airports are open to the general public with 503 airports offering commercial service. The majority of public airports — 2,829 — are designated as reliever or general aviation airports versus commercial service.

This article from 2000 states that “only about 350 have towers that are manned by FAA air traffic controllers.”

Clearly, a tower-less airport cannot be a deathtrap, or else we would be hearing about crashes at these tower-less airports all the time.

Oh, and how has the Federal Aviation Administration been spending its money in recent years?

Airports have spent $3.5 billion in federal money since 1998 on projects the Federal Aviation Administration rated as low priority because they do little to improve the most pressing needs in the nation’s aviation system, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

The money comes from a program that is supposed to improve aviation safety. Priority goes to projects such as runways, taxiways and beacons.

But the program also has funded terminals at little-used airports, hangars to store private jets, and parking areas that are free to customers, according to the analysis of FAA records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act . . .

Pellston Regional Airport in Michigan used $7.5 million in federal funds to build a terminal with stone fireplaces and cathedral ceilings. The airport averages three departures a day.

What, no granite countertops?

Besides, aren’t these the guys who are always getting caught sleeping on the job?

  • A controller at a Miami regional tower fell asleep during an overnight shift. This regional center is responsible for controlling air traffic for most of Florida, as well as parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean.
  • One controller slept for five hours while working a midnight shift at a Tennessee airport tower.
  • A supervisor at Washington, D.C.’s Reagan National Airport fell asleep for nearly a half hour during a night shift. At the time, the supervisor was the only air traffic controller on duty in the tower.
  • An air traffic controller has been caught sleeping on the job — while a plane carrying a critically ill patient was trying to land at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport in Nevada.
  • Similar reports at Westchester County Airport in New York.

I’ll bet the sequester has these guys losing sleep.

Tags: Federal Aviation Administration , Sequester

A Lesson in the Reach and Power of Visuals



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A few Morning Jolts ago, I mentioned that at a recent online journalism conference, the wise Melissa Clouthier contended that every blog post needs a visual component — either a picture or video. She also noted that a large segment of Web users visit Facebook and rarely venture beyond it, so if your material isn’t on Facebook, it’s missing a large chunk of the potential audience. (So thank you for every time you’ve Facebook “liked” and shared items from Campaign Spot and NRO.)

Today offered a good lesson on those points. This little graphic making a point from earlier, about a recent bit of foreign-aid spending left untouched by the sequester . . .

. . . has now been seen more than 115,000 times in seven hours.

So you’re going to see more like that.

Tags: Sequester

How the Sequester Has Impacted Our Debt Accumulation



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Great news, everyone! Since the sequester kicked in, the national debt has only increased by $23 billion!

According to the Department of the Treasury, the total public debt outstanding has increased by $23,574,161,895.69 since March 1.

We’re now at $16.6 trillion.

Believe it or not, that’s actually a genuine improvement. For the preceding five days, February 23 through 28, the total debt increased by $78 billion.

To be exact, $78,248,379,369.81.

Tags: Debt , Sequester

Foreign Aid Promises on Kerry’s Debut Trip: $310 Million and Counting



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Was sequestration really the best time for the Obama administration to send new Secretary of State John Kerry overseas to announce $250 million in assistance to Egypt and $60 million in assistance to the Syrian rebels?

Because I’m sure we’ll hear about American firehouses shutting down because of the sequester… and in 2004, one of the biggest applause lines in Kerry’s acceptance speech at the Democratic convention in Boston was, “We shouldn’t be opening firehouses in Baghdad and shutting them in the United States of America.”

Because each time the administration points to some allegedly horrific cut, taxpayers can legitimately wonder, “why was that less of a priority than a Muslim Brotherhood-run Egypt or the Syrian rebels?”

Tags: Egypt , John Kerry , Sequester , Syria

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