Thom Hartmann here – on the news...
You need to know this. Less than 24 hours after voting to slash food stamp funding, House Republicans moved on to a full government shut down. On Friday, the US House of Representatives passed their version of a short-term spending resolution, which includes a measure to defund Obamacare. Before the vote, Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell called on Republicans to "wake up from their radical, ideological dream" and oppose the legislation. Even Senate Republicans have warned their colleagues in the House against tying government funding to Obamacare. On Monday, Senator John McCain said, "Republicans ought to understand that if we shut down the government, Congress always gets blamed – rightly or wrongly – Congress gets blamed. We've seen the movie before. It's just some of them weren't around at the time; I was." Of course, the House resolution will be dead on arrival in the Senate, but that didn't stop House Republicans from their 42nd attempt to kill the President's healthcare law. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will strip the Obamacare provision out of the spending bill, and even President Obama has said he would veto any proposal that defunds the healthcare law. The House bill is nothing more than a political game, which brings our nation closer to the brink of economic disaster. Apparently, House Republicans would rather continue their economic terrorism, even if it means that poor people, the elderly, our veterans, and our entire economy get caught in the crossfire.
In screwed news... Property losses from the deadly flooding in Colorado may top $2 billion dollars. According to catastrophe modeling firm Eqecat, half of the losses were homes, and the other half were businesses and government property. At least 1,700 homes were destroyed, another 16,000 were damaged, and hundreds of miles of roads and bridges have been completely wiped out. And, most of the property was not covered by flood insurance. State and county officials have not begun to make actual damage assessments, but they believe that Eqecat's estimate is a fair starting point. Carole Walker of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association said, "This is a good first snapshot of the extent of the damage, based on the number of buildings damaged and destroyed that we're seeing." The historic flooding may be the most destructive natural disaster in Colorado's history, based on the large area of destruction and the severity of property damage. The federal government has pledged $30 million in flood relief, but that won't go far to cover the extensive damage. Americans from all around our nation are demanding we come together and do more to help the people of Colorado.
In the best of the rest of the news...
In just over two years, the cost of solar power in the United States has dropped by more than half. According to a new report from the US Solar Energy Industries Association, solar panels prices are 60 percent lower than they were in 2011. And, the industry is growing fast. The quarter ending in June of 2013 was the second-highest for solar growth in our nation's history. The rapid rate of new installations means that our country will pass the 10 gigawatts mark sometime in the next few months. And, the panels that are already installed have enough capacity to power a city as large as Philadelphia or Phoenix. All-in-all, the SEIA report shows that solar power is on it's way to becoming a major energy source in the U.S. Manufacturing and technological advances have lowered the cost of solar power, and tax credits and subsidies are putting new panels within the reach of millions of Americans. The SEIA report says that as solar panel costs drop, the solar power industry will grow even faster, and provide even more low-cost renewable energy to our nation. This is great news for our environment, and for millions of Americans who will soon see lower energy bills.
Once again, Pope Francis amazed the world with his modern stance on social issues. In an interview with an Italian news outlet, the Pope said that the Catholic Church has become too "obsessed" with issues like birth control, gay marriage, and abortion. Pope Francis said, "We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel." A moment later, he added, "the proclamation of the saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives. Today, sometimes it seems that the opposite order is prevailing." Pope Francis has repeatedly shocked the world, and many church leaders, with his views on homosexuality, his strong stance against austerity, and his welcoming of Muslims, women, and atheists. Since ascending to the papacy in March, Pope Francis has been leading the church with a focus on love, faith, and serving those in need. The Pope's actions have inspired millions around the world, and led to some of the largest masses in Rome in recent history. Pope Francis is changing the Catholic Church, and quite possibly our entire world, and he's changing it for the better.
And finally... Last week, a Brazilian hacker wanted to express outrage over US government spying. However, the hacker may have gotten a bit confused about which US agency is responsible. Rather than taking on the National Security Agency, the hacker took down 14 separate websites belonging to NASA. Apparently, there was an extra "A" in the hacker's program, that led to the take down of website's run by the space agency's Ames Research Center, which redirected all the sites to an incoherent message about spying. The hacker wrote, "NASA Hacked! Stop spy on us! The Brazilian population do not support your attitude! The Illuminati are now visibly acting!" Government agency acronyms can be confusing, and we can't help but wonder whether the TSA sites will be taken down next.
And that's the way it is today – Friday, September 20, 2013. I'm Thom Hartmann – on the news.