More than 7,000 employees in Veterans Benefits Administration offices nationwide were furloughed today (Tues/8), the newest casualty of the federal government shutdown.
As the Republicans in Washington hold the nation hostage over President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, federal employees are leaving their offices in droves. Now the veterans who rely on the federal government for healthcare and education checks have nothing to do but wait on word of their uncertain futures.
The furlough of veterans benefits workers comes at an especially awful time as they struggle to meet an enormous backlog of health benefit claims, revealed this year by the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting.
“VA’s ability to make significant progress reducing the disability claims backlog is hampered without the increased productivity gained from overtime for claims processors,” the Veterans Benefits Administration said in a statement released today. The agency has reduced the disability claims backlog by more than 190,000 claims over the last six months, it wrote.
But even worse, it said that if the government shutdown persists into late October there would be no funding available to supply veterans with their November support checks -- money many rely on for rent and food.
One of the most prosaic lines in film history is in 1974's Godfather II. When Vito Corleone (Robert DeNiro) is asked by Peter Clemenza (Bruno Kirby) if he checked out the package of oily guns Clemenza had left him as the NYPD was hauling Clemenza away, Corleone replies coolly that "I'm not interested in things that don't concern me".
At that point, we realize that the future Don was not a Republican.Read more »
There's an interesting piece on Calitics talking about what California can teach the nation in terms of ending Republican obstructionism. Robert Cruickshank, as usual, is right on target -- and he points to the real problem in Washington. Republicans in the House no longer worry about losing their seats to Democrats; the GOP has been so good about gerrymandering that only maybe 30 or 40 seats in the entire nation are still competitive. Read more »
I watched and I listened as the Republicans alienated much of America and the TV announcers made fools of themselves and the big newspapers reported what happened without much perspective or criticism. But the best coverage of he GOP convention came from a local outlet: KPFA's Mitch Jeserich, Davey D Cook, and Margaret Prescod had it nailed.Read more »
There's no way to put a good spin on the new budget figures released by the Guv. No matter what happens in November, people who need help are going to get screwed in this state. Public schools will lose money. Health-care for the poor will be near collapse. Cities and counties will struggle to preserve the local safety nets. It's just a disaster, and there's no other way to look at it.Read more »
Hooray, it's time for our favorite blog post of the year. Every year Wonkette goes to the huge Conservative Political Action Convention in DC, and trolls Craigslist for attendees looking for gay sex. Then Wonkette posts the ads. This installment features Dan Savage scanning the CPAC crowd with Grindr! Check it out here.