For Valentine’s Day, President Obama gave the country his federal budget proposal for fiscal 2012. Plenty of folks had an early look and everyone has an opinion. It’s a $3.7 trillion budget plan that would reduce the current deficit by more than $1.1 trillion over the next ten years. Including steep cuts in programs pretty much across the board, including defense and domestic safety nets, the budget also consolidates areas in education and transportation that are redundant. The Republicans don’t think the proposal goes far enough and so this week, the budget battle begins in earnest leading to a showdown before a possible government shutdown March 4th.
While the army in Egypt continued to clear Tahrir Square in Cairo of the last remnants from the nineteen days of protest that led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarek, military leaders sat down Sunday evening with the voices of the revolution, including Wael Ghonim, the Google marketing executive credited with organizing the initial uprising. The Egyptian constitution has been suspended and elections are to be held in six months.
Mir Hossein Mousavi, the opposition candidate to Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who sparked protests after the 2009 presidential election, was confined to his house over the past two days as police blocked the street and his phone lines were cut, indicating Ahmadinejad is worried he’s the next to go. Wouldn’t THAT be great?
Bahrain and Yemen have joined the party as demonstrators took to the streets there seeking more freedom and democratic rule.
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has disbanded his cabinet and is aiming for a complete overhaul, which some believe to be a preemptory move to avoid an Egypt-like uprising. Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas has dissolved his peace negotiation unit almost simultaneously, while Israel finds new reasons to wring their hands over the temperature in the region.
Big Oil is inexorably using Egypt as yet its latest excuse to make us eventually pay more at the pump. We may be down a penny or two but look for gas prices to go up further in the coming weeks.
Who is Esperanza Spalding? She’s a young jazz singer with a great sound reminiscent of Norah Jones. I didn’t know of her until last night when she won Best New Artist at the Grammy Awards, beating out my new fave band Mumford & Sons and teen idol Justin Bieber. Lady Antebellum (fine but a little dull) picked up Record and Song of the Year (as David Letterman asked, “What’s the difference?”) and Arcade Fire won for Best Album. More on the show, including a slight dig at Babs and a plea for Eminem to take a happy pill, in DailyCup’s Monday review.
Let the cuteness begin! The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show begins today in New York and will continue until Best in Show is crowned Tuesday. You can watch the action on USA Monday night at 8pm EST, with CNBC picking up the broadcast at 9pm.
Have you shopped at the clothing retail store Forever 21 lately, where you can buy shirts for around $1.50? Okay, maybe they’re two bucks, but I always wonder how companies can sell pants, jackets and blouses for less than the #2 meal at In ‘N Out Burger and still make a profit. Surely, poor souls in foreign countries are slaving over machines for 10¢ a day cranking out pajamas for us so we have enough money leftover to buy our $3 Starbucks lattes. Looks as if those days may be coming to an end as cotton prices double and synthetic fabrics cost manufacturers more. Nowhere is their mention of paying laborers more money to do what they do. That would be unheard of.
It’s not too late to make shortbread heart cookies for Valentine’s Day. I made nearly two hundred Sunday. Butter, sugar, flour, a heart cookie cutter and some red sprinkles are all you need. Simple yet delicious. Check out my recipe from February 2010.
Another word for love? Devotion. Rapture. Enchantment. Ardor. I have a hankering for affection. Happy Valentine’s Day! I love you all, mostly.