Thom's blog

Spying on friends is not acceptable...

This week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was outraged to learn that the U.S. was spying on her cell phone. But, she's not the only one who should be alarmed. The NSA has been snooping into the private phone conversations of at least 35 world leaders.

Stop the TPP!

A coalition of public interest groups wants Congress to stop the Trans Pacific Partnership. The groups sent a letter to several ranking members of Congress, asking them to deny President Obama's request to fast-track the T.P.P., and hold on to their Constitutional authority to oversee trade deals.

TSA now stands for The Snooping Agency!

In many states around our nation, you don't need a background check to buy a gun. But, if you have travel plans, be prepared for the authorities to do a little digging. The TSA has expanding passenger screenings, and they're checking a wide array of government databases before you even arrive at the airport.

Don't frack with DC!

The oil and gas industry is already cozy with Washington, but soon they might be neighbors. Fracking companies want to move in to the George Washington National Forest. That forest is one of the largest undeveloped areas east of the Mississippi, and it also supplies water to the DC metro area. In the coming weeks, the U.S.

The essence of Obamacare is working fine.

As of today, more than half a million people have signed up for Obamacare. However, many more people may have enrolled, but they were unable to because of glitches on the healthcare website.

For some, the pain of the shutdown isn't over...

The government shutdown may be over, but that doesn't mean that life has returned to normal for many people around our nation. Federal workers, who were furloughed during the shutdown, will receive backpay for the time they weren't able to work, but many others won't be so lucky. And, many businesses, research projects, and government contractors are now struggling to make up for the lost time and income.

Congress avoids default.

Only hours before the debt limit deadline, Congress finally passed a temporary measure to avoid default. The plan was approved 81 to 18 in the Senate, and 285 to 144 in the House. The Continuing Appropriations Act funds the government through January, suspends the debt limit until February, and directs both parties to agree on a long-term budget by December 13th.

Will they or won't they?

Monday evening, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell negotiated a deal to end the economic standoff. Their plan would temporarily fund the government and lift the debt ceiling, and leave the next round of sequester cuts in place. In addition, their deal would require income verification for Obamacare recipients, and establish a committee to work out a broader budget plan by December 13th.

Can the Senate end the debt-limit standoff?

Over the weekend, House Republicans and President Obama hit a stalemate in fiscal negotiations, and the Senate moved on to work out their own plan. On Saturday, after meeting with the President, House Speaker John Boehner told his party that talks with the White House had broken down. So, Senate leaders immediately started their own negotiations to deal with the government shutdown, and the debt ceiling.

Last Hours of Humanity: Warming the World to Extinction

If you were standing outdoors looking at the distant and reddening sky 250 million years ago as the Permian Mass Extinction was beginni

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