First, a statement released by Rubio earlier this afternoon:
“I cannot support this plan because it fails to actually solve our debt problem, fails to diminish the risk of a credit rating downgrade and is not a long-term solution to avert a debt crisis. This plan still adds at least $7 trillion to our debt over 10 years. It fails to immediately start downsizing government, leaving 98 percent of deficit reduction until after the 2012 election. By not addressing the biggest driver of our debt, health care spending, this plan ensures Medicare’s looming bankruptcy, while protecting ObamaCare’s $2.6 trillion blank check. It contains no real structural reforms to spending, such as a Constitutional balanced budget amendment. It fails to reduce spending by what credit rating agencies say is at least $4 trillion to avert a downgrade. Worst of all is that at a time of 9.2 percent unemployment, this plan fails to include pro-growth measures to help get people back to work and create new taxpayers to help us pay down the debt. In fact, I fear that the new ‘Supercommittee’ in this bill could lead to expedited consideration of big tax hikes on our struggling economy. And if Congress rejects new taxes, then up to $850 billion of devastating automatic defense spending cuts would be triggered at a time when the world is as dangerous as it’s ever been.
“Americans are looking at Washington with anger, disgust and concern that maybe America’s problems are just too big for our leaders to solve. As I outlined in The Wall Street Journal in March, keeping America exceptional will require spending cuts and caps, saving Medicare and Social Security from bankruptcy, a Constitutional balanced budget amendment, tax reform and regulatory reform. Above all, it will require courage.”
…And here is the video and complete text of Rubio’s floor speech today:
August 2, 2011
I went back around forth today over whether I wanted to speak or not. After all, I think almost everything that can be said has been said regarding the events of the last few days. But I did ultimately want to share my thoughts for a moment, as we head into the August recess, as they call it here in Washington, and many of us here in the Senate will be returning to our home states to explain to the people that we represent what we did or did not do in the last few days.
First, let me start by pointing out to that our republic is an amazing thing.
As heated as the rhetoric may have been over the last few days, I think all of us should stop for just a moment and understand that all around the world there are countries that solve the problems we’ve solved through debate, they solve it through civil war and conflict, armed and otherwise.
Our republic is an amazing thing. It isn’t always pretty. Quite frankly, it’s more often than not, very messy. But it has withstood two hundred and thirty-some-odd years of pressures and choices, and it continues to do so even if ultimately what it gives us is not always solutions to our problems. We are blessed to have it.
I would remind many like myself that were elected in the last election cycle, tightly embracing the principles of our Constitution, that our Constitution is not just a set of words that outline our principles. It gives us a system of government. It gives us this republic. And this republic is valid and it matters, even when the people who are running it may not be people you agree with. And we should always remember that.
What we have here is special and unique. We should embrace it and be thankful to our God each night that we have the opportunity and the blessing of living in a nation such as this.
Moving aside from that, however, the facts still remain that this coming month and every month to come, more or less, this government will spend $300 billion a month. That’s a lot of money. It’s more than any government has ever spent in the history of man.
$180 billion of that $300 billion is money that we collect from the people of our country through taxes and fees and other ways. But we borrow $120 billion a month to pay our $300 billion-a-month bill.
And that’s just too much money. That’s too much money for Republicans; it’s too much money for Democrats. It’s just too much money.
And although we should be happy that tomorrow and in the days to come we’re not facing a default, and an inability to meet our bills, the truth is, an undeniable one that I don’t think anyone here would disagree with me when I say: we can’t keep borrowing $120 billion every month or more because the point and the day will come when the people who lend us that money will stop lending us that money.
If we keep doing this for long, we will one day reach a day in this country where we will face a debt crisis, but it won’t be because of the debt limit or because of gridlock in Washington; it will be because folks are no longer willing to buy America’s debt, because they seriously doubt our ability to pay it back.
It’s not hyperbole. It is not an exaggeration. It is a mathematical, indisputable fact that no member of either party would dispute. There is general agreement on this, and there’s general agreement that the only way to solve this problem is a combination of two things.
Number one, this government needs to generate more revenue. And, number two, this government needs to restrict its growth in spending.
Because as bad as the three hundred billion-a-month looks, it only gets worse from here on out for ways that I don’t have time to explain in the next 10 minutes. Suffice it to say that our economy isn’t growing. It’s not producing enough revenue moving forward. Meanwhile, all the programs we fund are about to explode in their growth because more people than ever are going to retire and they’re going to live longer than they’ve ever lived and the math just doesn’t add up.
These are facts – no one would dispute that. The debate in Washington is not even about that fact. The debate is how do we solve it, how do we generate more money for government and reduce the spending, at the same time? And I will tell you this is not a debate we will solve in the month of August. In fact, I believe it will characterize the rest of this Congress, the 2012 elections and the years that lie ahead.
And the division on how to solve it goes to the root of the dispute that we face in America between two very different visions of America’s future. By the way, one not more or less patriotic than the other. Patriotic, country-loving Americans can disagree on their future vision of what kind of country we should be. But this division, this difference of opinion, is the reason why even though this bill passed, this debate we just had is going to move forward for some time to come.
On the one hand, there are those who believe that the job of government is deliver us economic justice, which basically means: an economy where everyone does well or as well as possibly can be done.
There is another group that believes in the concept of economic opportunity where it’s not the government’s job to guarantee an outcome but to guarantee the opportunity to fulfill your dreams and hopes.
One is not more moral than the other. They are two very different visions of the role of government in America. But it lies at the heart of the debate that we’re having as a nation.
And so we have to decide because Washington is divided, because America is divided on this point. And we must decide what every generation of Americans before us has decided. And that is what kind of government do we want to have and what role do we want it to have in America’s future?
And so the fault lines emerge from that. The solutions emerge from those two visions.
For those that want to see economic justice, their solution is to raise more taxes. They believe that there are some in America that make too much money and should pay more in their taxes. They believe that our government programs can stimulate economic growth. And they believe that perhaps America no longer needs to fund or can no longer afford to fund our national defense and our military at certain levels.
Another group believes that, in fact, our revenues should come not from more taxes but from more taxpayers. That what we need are more people being employed, more businesses being created. They’ll pursue tax reform, they’ll pursue regulatory reform, but ultimately we look for more revenue for government from economic growth, not from growth in taxes.
We believe that the private sector creates these jobs, not government and not politicians. Jobs in America are created when everyday people from all walks of life start a business or expand an existing business.
I believe and we believe in a safety net program, programs that exist to help those who cannot help themselves and to help those who have tried but failed to stand up and try again, but not safety net programs that function as a way of life and believe that America’s national defense and our role in the world as the strongest military that man has ever known, is still indispensable.
These are two very different visions of America and two very different types of solutions.
Ultimately, we may find that between these two points there may not be a middle ground. And that, in fact, as a nation and as a people, we must decide what we want the role of government to be in America, moving forward.
So let me close by just saying this has been a unique week for me in a couple ways.
One has been, of course, the debate that has happened. The other, my family has been here for the better part of a week, young children. We had an opportunity, today after the vote, to walk around a little bit and look at all the statues and monuments that pay tribute to our heritage as a people. It reminds us that we are not the first Americans that have been asked to choose what kind of country we want or what role of government we want in our country. It is a choice that every generation before us has had to make.
Even in this chamber as I stand here you can sit back and absorb the history of some of the extraordinary debates that took place on this very floor, debates that went to the core and heart of what kind of country we wanted to be moving forward. And the voice of those ancients call to us even now, that remind us every generation of Americans has been called to choose clearly what kind of country they want moving forward.
And that debate will continue. It will define the service of this Congress and for most of us that are here now.
I pray we choose wisely. And I look forward to the months that lie ahead that we will choose and make the right choice for our future and for our people.
With that, I yield the floor.
Gizmodo – It’s hot. Parts of your body are sticking to other parts of your body, and it’s horrible. Lucky for you, you’ve got air conditioning. Unlucky for you, A/C is a real punisher on the power bill.
Here are a few tips for maximizing your cool without crippling your bank account.
Don’t Be Greedy
You’ve been sweating your face off outside, and nothing feels better than coming in to a nice, cold room. Your impulse will be to set your A/C to 66 degrees and let it get nice and nippy. Don’t. Keep it set to 78 degrees. You don’t need to be cold, you just need to be comfortable. For every degree below 78, you are increasing your energy usage by approximately 8%. No bueno. You don’t need to be indoors in a sweatshirt. Keep it at 78 or higher and rock a t-shirt and shorts. If you have a window unit with Low, Med, and Hi as your only options, keep it as low as you can handle.
Divide and Conquer
It’s better to use your A/C minimally and have one cool room than to have your A/C maxed out and have your whole apartment only marginally less blistering. If you don’t have a door that you can close between rooms, improvise! Hang a thick blanket in between rooms to create a nice cool-box that doesn’t stress your A/C. (I recommend using picture-frame hangers, and then threading a few safety pins into the blanket so it’s easy to put up and take down.) More
Science – Squishy, doughnut-shaped disks can make the difference between a pain-free, active lifestyle or years of back discomfort. When the disks that normally cushion each vertebra in the spine start to degenerate, due to aging or injury, nerves can be pinched and movement impeded. But degenerating disks may soon be replaceable with bioengineered disk implants grown in the laboratory. A research team has implanted living, biologically based disks into rats’ spines and found that they allow for as much movement as native, healthy disks.
“This is, in my opinion, in a whole different league than tissues that have been engineered before,” says University of Pennsylvania orthopedic bioengineer Robert Mauck, who was not involved in the study. “This is essentially opening the door for replacement of a tissue that’s central to humans walking.”
The current course of treatment for degenerative disks includes painkillers, physical therapy, and steroid injections to ease inflammation. As a last resort, patients can undergo surgery that fuses together two vertebrae, removing the need for a disk between them but also limiting the flexibility of the back. Within the past 5 years, artificial disks have also become an option. Current disk implants are made of metal or plastic, however, and have limitations. They don’t provide a full range of spinal movement, and they can wear out as they rub against vertebrae.
Hoping to eliminate those pitfalls, Lawrence Bonassar, a biomedical engineer at Cornell University, and his team created an artificial scaffold shaped like a disk, with collagen on the outside to provide structural stability and a gel in the center. Then they added two types of living disk cells taken from a rat’s spine: one from the outer edges of a disk, which they added to the collagen, and another type found in the center of disks, which they seeded into the gel. For 2 weeks, they let the cells grow around the scaffold, creating a living disk and taking over both parts of the artificial scaffold. Then they surgically replaced a spinal disk in a rat’s tail with the new implant. More
A new USB-based device lets you share files remotely and securely between two computers.
What does it do? The iTwin is a solution for those who want to share files between two computers, but who don’t want to deal with (or don’t trust) cloud syncing application such as Dropbox, especially since that service left its accounts vulnerable for several hours last June.
iTwin is quite simple to operate: It’s made up of two small devices that look like two standard USB keys, with one modification. While each has a standard USB connector at one end, at the other end the two keys connect together — making it the Tweedledum and Tweedledee of tech devices. When you join them together, you basically get a single unit with a USB connector on either end.
You start by plugging the joined iTwin into the first computer. You are then prompted to install the iTwin software (which is resident on the device and only takes a few seconds). When that’s done, the software asks if you want to be sent a unique number via email that can be used to disable either key if you need to (in case one goes missing). At that point, a virtual folder appears on your desktop onto which you can drag and drop any files you want to share. It’s a fairly simple process — anyone who has used applications such as Dropbox or Zumodrive will be familiar with it.
Once you’ve included all the files you think you’ll want access to, you can pull off the half of the device that’s not connected directly to your computer — and plug that into any other online computer. The software installs and the virtual folder pops up, containing whatever folders and files you chose to share. You can, of course, also drag any files or folders from the second computer into the iTwin folder to sync those as well. More
FOX Business: The Power to Prosper
An unexpected drop in personal spending in June added to concerns over the sluggish economic recovery, pushing stock future deep into the red.
The blue chips are presently on a seven-day losing streak — the worst in more than a year.
Personal spending unexpectedly dipped 0.2% in June, shy of the 0.2% increase economists expected. Meanwhile, personal income grew at a pace of 0.1% for the month, slower than forecasts of 0.2%. This report comes on the heels of disappointing data showing growth in the manufacturing sector essentially stalled last month.
The closely-watched monthly employment report for July is on tap for Friday, and is expected to show the economy added 57,000 jobs, which would keep the unemployment rate steady at 9.2%. The labor market has been extremely slow to come back during the economic recovery.
Livio Bluetooth Internet Radio Car Kit: $119.99
Fans of Internet radio may already be familiar with Livio’s Carmen device for recording and bringing such music on the go, but soon they’ll have another option as well. Due to ship in August, Livio’s new Bluetooth Internet Radio Car Kit taps the user’s cell phone to transform any car stereo wirelessly into an Internet radio.
The new Bluetooth kit takes less than five minutes to set up, Livio says, and works by wirelessly connecting the user’s iPhone or Android handset to any FM stereo. More
CNET – By now I’m sure that you’re familiar with the arguments against the proposed AT&T-T-Mobile merger. As critics see it, the deal will put too much power in the hands of one carrier (and one GSM carrier, at that), it will reduce customer choice and innovation, and it will lead to higher prices and poorer customer service.
Those all are valid points, but I’m more worried about something that hasn’t received a lot of attention. If this merger goes through, I fear that T-Mobile’s gutsy approach to expanding its smartphone lineup will be killed by AT&T’s stodgier culture. Indeed, over the last year, T-Mobile has greatly outshone its potential partner in both the range and quality of such handsets. AT&T produced slightly more smartphones during that period (21 versus 19), but T-Mobile has taken more risks and its lineup has earned a higher average score from CNET editors (7.7 versus 7.2). I don’t really know where the carrier gets its aggressive spirit, but customers will lose if it disappears.
(Credit: Josh Miller/CNET)
Just consider that in the four months since the merger was announced, T-Mobile has continued to pump out one worthy smartphone after another. Not only did we see two CNET Editors’ Choice winners with the LG G2x and the HTC Sensation 4G, but also we had the shutterbug-friendly MyTouch 4G Slide 4G, the wallet-friendly Samsung Exhibit 4G, and the Sidekick 4G, which brought the Sidekick family back to life. That’s lot of handset power in a short time.