Immigration: A Pathway to Citizenship!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Yesterday in Las Vegas, Nevada, President Obama said “Now is the time for common sense, comprehensive, immigration reform.”The topic of immigration has been in the Top 10 of most political lists since Mr. Obama entered the White House.In part, this is true because he promised to address Immigration Reform during his first term, but did not do so in a comprehensive way.

After winning a second term, propelled in large part by attracting 70% of the Latino vote, both the President’s promise and Latinos’ insistence that he honor it have surged to a place near the top of the charts in importance.  In fact, it is not just the President and Democrats who feel now is the time to move on this issue.  Republicans, given their surprisingly poor showing in the Presidential and Senatorial elections, are motivated to rehabilitate their relationship with the Latino community.

  • What’s changed, honestly, is that there is a new, I think, appreciation on both sides of the aisle — including maybe more importantly on the Republican side of the aisle — that we have to enact a comprehensive immigration reform bill.”     (This past Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.)

All of this newfound attention to “dealing with” the issue of immigration strikes me as more than a little ironic.  For decades, I have detected a certain disdain for immigrants.And further back than I have observed, historical evidence, from a variety of citations, indicates immigrants have been subjected to some serious rites of passage as they inured themselves to the “exceptional” existence men and women experience here in America; Land of the free; home of the brave.

The Irish, Polish, and various groups of Latinos, among others, have faced great resistance in their efforts to settle here in America.  But hold up!Let’s go back and examine the sheer hypocrisy of the notion that somehow, immigrants are a bad for America.

Depending upon what or how you remember your American History, Christopher Columbus discovered America.  He didn’t of course, but that is probably how a lot of folks recall it.

In 1492, Columbus landed in the Bahamas.  He made four separate voyages to the Americas, including to the Greater Antilles, to the Lesser Antilles, and to VenezuelaColumbus, an Italian, claimed all four of these locales for the Spanish EmpireChristopher was many things; among them, an explorer, a colonizer, a directionally challenged navigator, and perhaps most significantly…a bald-faced liar.

The “Gentleman from Genoa,” after having his proposal rejected by John II, King of Portugal, persuaded King Ferdinand II of Aragon, and Queen Isabella I of Castile (who had united a number of Kingdoms of the Spanish Empire) that he could search for and find a western route to the Orient.  In his quest to reach Japan, he landed in the Bahamas archipelago.  In this and his subsequent voyages, he reported to the Spanish rulers that he’s landed in and was occupying the East Indies.  In support of this falsehood, he “named the inhabitants of the area Indios,” Spanish for Indians.  That was his story and he stuck to it.

Amerigo Vespucci, also an Italian, was a financier, cartographer, navigator, and explorer.  Between 1499 and 1502, Vespucci made two voyages to what would later be named America, in his honor.  He disproved the notion that Brazil and the West Indies were Asia’s eastern outskirts, as conjectured by Columbus; instead, they were a separate landmass, hitherto unknown to Afro-Eurasians.  They were part of what was at the time known colloquially as the New World.

But this geo-historic puzzle is not complete.  While not part of the typical American’s lore, Leif Ericson, a Norse explorer arrived in North America, and established a settlement at Vinland, on the northern tip of Newfoundlandin modern day Canada, in 999Columbus arrival would not occur until 1492, nearly 500 years later.

Columbus, Vespucci, and Ericson had at least two pursuits in common.  They were all explorers, of course, but perhaps more important each of the men was a colonizer.  As such, they claimed the lands they “discovered” for the governments they represented.  Moreover, they were granted considerable authority over the land areas they claimed.

The territory that we now know as the United States of Americawas not successfully settled until much later.  Jamestown Settlement in Virginia was established in 1607.  To clarify; it was not the first colony in the United States.  However, it was the first successful English Colony.

On July 4, 1584, an expedition dispatched by Sir Walter Raleigh landed at Roanoke Island, in Dare County, North Carolina.  On August 18, 1587, Virginia Dare became the first child born in Americato English parents in the short-lived Roanoke Colony.  As such, Ananias Dare and his wife Eleanor  became the first American immigrants to have a child born in the New WorldMs. Dare became the first child potentially eligible for coverage by the modern-day DREAM Act.  In short, that’s when it all began.  For the next 425 years, life in America has been shaped, molded, and quite frankly dominated by immigrants…and of course slaves.

You see, this is part and parcel to a plethora of dirty little secrets that regularly go untold from day-to-day in America.  Fortunately, we live in an era when unmentioned does not necessarily equate to undocumented.  So it is, when the air is filled with all the bluster and banality about how the well-being of our great Republic is threatened by the scourge of a profusion of immigrants, I remember those expeditions to Roanoke, and to Jamestown; I recall the slavers’ treks to the Port of Charleston, and in quiet reflection, I think about the words of “The New Colossus,” a sonnet, written in 1883 by Emma Lazarus, the words of which were engraved on a bronze plaque mounted on the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in 1903:

With conquering limb astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightening, and her name

Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!”  cries she

With silent lips.  “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

The more the claptrap continues, the more I think about the words in the opening stanza of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land:”

This land is your land, this land is my land

From the California to the Staten New York Island,

From the Redwood Forest, to the Gulf stream waters,

God blessed Americafor me.

And when I envision the dimensions and demographics of “This Land” when the settlers, or immigrants, or whatever you prefer to call them, arrived, I see that “This Land” was already inhabited.  But that’s not all; I am reminded that large portions of America’s indigenous people were wiped out by virulent strains of a variety of diseases that the Europeans brought to the “New World.”  Moreover, many of those who survived were dispossessed, uprooted; driven away from the only place they had ever called home…or killed, if they resisted.

In clear-eyed retrospect, I can see why many people are so concerned about the inherent dangers of immigration.  If one ascribes the motives and actions of the original settlers and their benefactors to contemporary immigrants, potential consequences could, in their view, indeed be dire.  In fact, if the horizon were to incorporate those dynamics, the gun-lobby’s fixation could also be explained.

Of course, the fact is, we live in a different world.  The challenges, and there are challenges, are different.  Now our charge is to figure out how to integrate immigrants into our nation’s economic machinery; not how to keep them from ripping our country out of our grasp.Through it all, we should remember that as this country was being founded, a simple truth resonated…”Immigration: A Pathway to Citizenship!”  Thus, it is as it has ever been.  Moreover, whether the folks we call founders were Pilgrims, Patriots, or merely pilferers, no one complained about them being extended amnesty.
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President Obama 2.0: In Our Time!

It’s time to Break It Down!

Two days ago, our nation’s 44th President addressed the Country in its 57th Inauguration.  It took a while, but on Monday, at long last, President Obama proclaimed in no uncertain terms, and in full-throat, his personal belief that Americais indeed, an exceptional nation.  So often, spokesmen of rival political and ideological factions have derided the President because they contend the President rejects the exceptionalism of America.

Of course, it should be noted, he did so in his own inimitable style; using phraseology that his most robustly ardent critics decried…as they always do, no matter what he says.In this particular instance, what he said was:

  • “What makes us exceptional, what makes us America is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.

As the President expounded on the relevance of the historic phrase in contemporary terms, he said:

  • Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing. That while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on earth.

The “Rushites,” the Fox Newsteam, the Tea Party Movement, and Republican elected officials and many of the voters who made them (elected officials) likely winced and released a collective audible sigh, if in fact they bothered to watch/listen to the President’s remarks. 

At Fox News, they get paid to follow and critique the President, so I took a moment to observe the reaction by the Fox Newscrew.  I can say truly, I do not recall a single commentator saying he or she found anything positive in the President’s speech.  If only that were news, original, or even unusual!

As most of you know, Monday was a double bonus for Americans who believe in social justice, value diversity, and hope to see the emergence a progressive American agenda.  I suppose that made it a dual bane for the Right Wing zealotry.  It was the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday and President Obama’s second InaugurationPOTUS acknowledged and validated the significance of these twin occasions by brilliantly weaving the spirit and themes of various civil rights movements with words and propositions put forth by America’s Founding Fathers in our country’s primordial documents; the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.

At several pauses, pregnant with the weight of the moment, the President infused his remarks with a simple and eloquent phrase, taken directly from the Constitution:“We, the people!”

The opening of the Constitution in its original form is written thusly:

  • We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

President Obama used the golden phrase five times; each time to distill and drive home a salient point central to his address.  They include:

  • For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a     shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.”
  • We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of     security and dignity.  We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.”
  • We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.  We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”
  • We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not     require perpetual war.”
  • We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truth that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”  

In choosing his remarks, thePresident elevated the ideals of the Founders, but emphasized need for what comedian, television host, and political commentator Bill Maher refers to as New Rules.  In other words, the principles may be eternal, but the mechanisms for implementation must be altered to fit the times.  President Obama put it this way:

  • “For we have always understood that when times change, so must we, that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges, that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.”

In articulating his second Inaugural message, the President spoke confidently; resolutely.  He seemed to know the moment was his, and he embraced that knowledge.That simple truth serves to ensure that a country often described as split down the middle will not likely soon settle into a nationwide chorus of “We Are The World.”  Add to that a vengeful Right Wing, still bitter from November’sloss, juxtaposed against, Democrats aching to see “their guy” grow a spine and fight more vigorously for issues they believe in.

With that in mind, POTUS used part of his nineteen-minute speech to call for Americans to work collaboratively in an effort to conquer our country’s challenges.  Specifically, he said:

  • “My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment and we will seize it, so long as we seize it together.”

Still, in broaching the subject of seeking cooperation, he resisted the idea that “saving the children…and their future, means deep-sixing Boomers and the elderly.  In fact, he adamantly opposed such a position.  He put it thusly:

  • “But we flatly reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.”

One sequence, to which conservatives on the news and talk circuits seemed to take utmost umbrage, was the President’s robust defense of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.  He maintained that America’s commitment to these programs does not sap our initiative; rather it strengthens it.He submitted that these commitments do not make the United  States a country of takers; rather they free us to take the risks that make us great.

In distilling the discussion to its essence, POTUS framed the matter sublimely, saying:

  • “Progress does not compel us to settle century’s long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time.”

To provide you with a more personal sense of the moment, I have provided links to both video of the President’s speech, as well as the text.  With that I give you a composite of the 2013 Inaugural; “President Obama 2.0: In Our Time!”

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Conspiracy Theory: Prof Says Newtown Staged…Really?

It’s time to Break It Down!

It’s difficult to think of a way to upstage the tragedy of the recent shooting of 20 first graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut…and ultimately make it worse.  Alas, it has been done.

In a previous post (, I addressed the Newtown shootings.  The events of December 14, 2012 in Newtown are still firmly etched in American current events; I will not deign to reprise them in this space.

Today, President Obama will reveal his proposal to stem gun violence in America.  That endeavor will undoubtedly garner a great deal of attention, and may be the topic of a future post; not today, however.

Instead because I was unable to shake the degree to which I was flabbergasted by the assertions of Florida Atlantic University (FAU/Boca Raton, FL) Professor James Tracy, I will spend a few minutes sharing his views and claims.  Given the degree to which his comments fly in the face of convention, it is surprising, though perhaps fortunate, that his positions have gained so little exposure and traction among the masses.

Mr. Tracy, a tenured associate communications professor, apparently has a history of involvement with conspiracy theories.  Two overarching themes held by the professor, in relation to Sandy Hook, are:

1.     He questions whether the Sandy Hook massacre occurred?

2.     He suggests the entire Sandy Hook scenario was contrived by the Obama administration to promote a gun control agenda.

For the parents of the 20 deceased students, the families of the 6 school administrators who were fatally shot, and even the relatives of the suicidal shooter and his murdered mother, these dual premises must seem at once, crude, offensive, and appalling.  The extent to which Professor Tracy has pushed to redefine the tragedy is truly mind-numbing.  A few examples of his thinking on the Connecticutshootings include:

·        “Regardless of where one stands on the Second Amendment and gun control, it is not unreasonable to suggest the Obama administration complicity or direct oversight of an incident that has in very short order sparked a national debate on the very topic—and not coincidentally remains a key piece of Obama’spolitical platform,” the 47-year-old tenured professor of communication wrote on his blog,

·        “While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place — at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation’s news media have described.”

·        Tracy also called a gut-wrenching public appearance by Robert Parker, the father of a first-grader who was shot to death, “contrived,” and asked Florida’s Sun-Sentinel newspaper, “Was this to a certain degree constructed? Was this a drill?”

·        “Something most likely took place,” he told the newspaper. “One is left with the impression that a real tragedy took place.”

·        At one point Tracyeven suggested that no one died in Newtown; rather the characters involved were all actors.

As the toxic fumes of Professor Tracy’s narrative reached wider circles, starting in his own blog, then, coursing through Florida media circles, and eventually reaching national outlets, such as CNN, push back did emerge eventually.  His anti-Obama/anti-mainstream media spin naturally attracted instant currency among those who hate the current POTUS, and from within the segment of the populace that always questions and/or doubts the pronouncements of mainstream media.

However, even some FAUstudents expressed embarrassment at the odd, if not absurd renderings of such a highly placed denizen of the educational institution to which they are inextricably connected.  A number of media and members of the Blogosphere labeled the FAU educator, “The Nutty Professor;” a take-off on the 1963 Jerry Lewis film and/or its 1996/2000 reprise Franchise (Eddie Murphy).  The highest elected official in Newtown, First Selectman Patricia Llodra, called upon FAU to rescind his tenure, and to terminate the professor.

Apparently, Professor Tracy was unprepared for the high volume and sharp tenor of the reaction to his position and resulting commentary.He is now beginning to modulate and walk back some of his most outlandish comments.  The tagline on his blog, Memory Hole is:

  • We are     not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign     ideas, alien philosophies and competitive values.  For a nation that is afraid to let its     people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation afraid     of its people.” – President John F. Kennedy

As it turns out, James Tracy is discovering not only the truth of that trenchant quote by President Kennedy, but also the power of the truism.  To paraphrase President Obama, “Actions have consequences.”  As a consequence of the professor’s actions, a wide range of factions has risen up to challenge, and moreover, smack down the mendacious lunacy of a ridiculous alternative narrative.So on this day, relax, and don’t believe the hype; “Conspiracy Theory: Prof Says Newtown Was Staged…Really?”

I will leave you with one final thought on the matter of gun violence in our beloved America.  As of yesterday, in the 32 days that have ensued since the Newtownmassacre, 917 Americans have been killed by fire arms.  On average, that’s 28.656 per day…or put another way, the numerical equivalent of Sandy Hook (20 students, 6 teachers and administrators, the shooter’s mother and the shooter), plus .656.  Regardless of ones position on the Second Amendment, the problem is huge.  Action is not just appropriate; it’s required.

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Split Personality: The AIG Story Revised!

It’s time to Break It Down!

In the fall of 2008, I penned a blog entitled, “A Crisis of Confidence: Economic Homeland Insecurity!” That tome focused on a variety of issues related to the then emerging Great American Financial Armageddon. The central theme of the post, however, revolved around the calamitous and irresponsible actions taken by American International Group, Inc., more familiarly, AIG, and the bailout that followed those actions.

Back on September 17, 2008, when I posted the blog referenced above, America and its economy teetered on the precipice of a catastrophic financial collapse, and no institution was more integral to what might have been, than AIG. To provide a condensed CliffNotes-like summary, the following 5 bullet points frame the lay of the land and AIG’s pivotal role at the apex of the financial threat, as I described it at the time:

· I would posit, aside from the truly financially savvy, most people never heard of, or at least never paid any attention to, AIG. If that is true, indeed, ignorance was bliss. Yes, the company has had a series of TV commercials, but in the age of TiVo and DVR, who watches commercials?

· For the record, AIG is a major insurance company, with offices around the world. Founded in 1919 in Shanghai by Cornelius Vander Starr, AIG is headquartered in New York City. The company’s UK Offices are located in London, the Continental Europe operations are based in Paris, and its Asian Headquarters is in Hong Kong. Beginning to get the picture? AIG, a global conglomerate, became a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2004, and was cited by Forbes in 2008 as being the 18th largest company in the world.

· Just 3 days ago, the feds opted not to bail out Lehman Brothers after a weekend- long effort by the bank to persuade the Government to do just that. So why save AIG?

· For starters AIG is in a league of its own. Government officials decided they had to act, lest the nation’s largest insurer file bankruptcy. Such a move would roil world markets since AIG has 1.1 T, as in trillion, dollars in assets, and 74 million clients in 130 countries. Plus, AIG’s insurance businesses make so much money they could conceivably pay off the cost of the bailout within a few years.

· AIG is far and away the largest insurer in the world. A quick search of any sampling of mutual funds or any S&P 500 index fund is likely to show the inclusion of the Company’s stock. AIG is a staple in 401k, and has been singly responsible for deflating the Dow more than 400 points this year.

Fast forward four years, 3 months and change; what has become of the great bailout? Well first and foremost, at that time we had yet to plumb the depths of the crisis. There were additional bailouts, a series of embarrassing “additional expenditures,” including, over identifying $1.2 billion in employee bonuses, plus millions more dedicated to expensive retreats at posh venues, and a number of instances in which AIG had to pay out billions to financial institutions, including, Goldman Sachs and Société Générale, to retire obligations related to credit default swaps (CDS). All of this occurred in 2008.

A lot has changed in the ensuing years. Indeed, AIG, as I noted many people projected back in 2008, has repaid the money the U.S. used to bail them out; all of it. Moreover, they have kicked in an additional $22 billion to cover Uncle Sam’s tab for interest payments. It would seem all is good; right?

Well its not! AIG has announced that it is considering suing the Federal Government. The Board of AIG, including current Chairman Robert Benmosche is currently contemplating joining a suit filed by former Chairman Maurice (Hank) Greenberg alleging the Federal Government went too far by demanding exacting terms when it rescued the company in 2008. While no decision had been made, current Chairman Benmosche insists that in order to fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities, the AIG Board must consider joining the suit.

Let’s be clear, AIG had not yet said it will join the suit. It is possible that it may still opt not to take this “beyond the pale” next step. Alternately, the mere fact that the Board is considering joining the suit, which I might add, has already been thrown out by one court, means that the prospect exists that AIG will bite the proverbial “hand that fed it” during its moment of extreme duress.

It’s been a moment since the bailout went down. As a general rule, Americans are accused of having short memories. That is perceived to be one of the reasons why elected officials often flout the law, and a few years later, get re-elected. If, in fact, Mr. Benmosche and the AIG Board opt to join Mr. Greenberg’s suit, he and they would appear to be betting that Americans will have forgotten the enmity and utter disgust they held due to the United States having opted to extend AIG a bail out.

Even now, I am convinced AIG was “Too big to fail.” Moreover, I am comfortable with the notion that the AIG Board, whose responsibility is to look out for and make decisions in the best interest of shareholders, does have an obligation to review its options in this instance. Alas, if AIG actually decides to join Mr. Greenberg’s suit, I will default to the position that AIG is totally devoid of reasoning, since it was the Board’s irresponsible bets that led them to edge of their own corporate FiscalCliff. I will surmise they are too greedy to merit America’s collective empathy; just too damn arrogant for words…period!

From thank-you to sue you; if it plays out that way, we will see a classic case of, “SplitPersonality: The AIG Story Revised!”

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Deal or No Deal?

It’s time to Break It Down!

I was tempted to stick with convention and simply make this a traditional New Year’s Day (Holiday) blog.  However, even casual observers are likely engaged on some level with the discussion around efforts to avert the Fiscal Cliff.  With this in mind, here’s what’s up with that!

Shortly after midnight onTuesday, January 1st, the Senate overwhelmingly approved a bill to avert the Fiscal Cliff.  Since the Senate is currently occupied by a majority of Democrats, it is not surprising the bill passed.  That it passed easily, 89-8, including with the votes of 40 of the 45 Republicans who voted, was somewhat unexpected.

The Democratic leadership was concerned enough to assign Vice President Biden the dual role of co-lead negotiator, along with Republican Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader, as well as marshaling the troops to make sure Democrats supported the bill.That the GOP supported the effort in such sizable numbers was certainly significant.

On the other side of the aisle, in the House of Representatives, there is still a lingering lack of consensus about placing Country before politics.  The House spent most of yesterday dallying instead of voting.  There are at least two reasons for the reluctance to act by the House.

First, there is the matter of politicsGrover Norquist, whom I have previously referenced, has challenged all Republicansto pledge not to raise taxes.  In an effort to comply with this pledge, the GOP brain trust designed a hype rmicro-managing maneuver that resulted in a commitment by House Republicans to not vote on Monday on any Fiscal Cliff bill approved by Senate.  Rather, they would wait until Tuesday to take action.  This way, even if they were to approve a measure passed by the Senate, it would be after the Countryofficially” went over the Fiscal Cliff, which meant technically, the House would be rolling back tax increases brought on by having gone over the Cliff, instead of increasing taxes, in concert with the Senate bill.

There’s an old saying that goes something like this: “When you’re about to get run out of town on a rail, get out in front and call it a parade.”  In line with that thought, Mr. Norquist went on record yesterday, saying he supports the Senatebill.  And by the way, of course he declared it was not a tax increase.  Oh what a tangled web we weave!

Second, there is the matter of politics (repetition intended).  Several of the most vocal leaders of the movement to push back on the Senate bill are doing so with a clear eye on their next election, or their next position of leadership.  Senators Marco Rubio (FL), and Rand Paul (KY) have already made clear, or intimated their interest in running for President in 2016Representative Eric Cantor (VA) appears to be positioning himself to make a potential challenge to Representative John Boehner (OH), for Speaker of the House.  Staking themselves out in positions opposed to President Obama…and to tax increases, looms large with Tea Party members and other fiscal conservatives whose support they crave…and whom they need desperately, if they are to recognize their ambitions.

This dynamic clash of ideas and ideals will end, at least temporarily, by Thursday, one way or another.January 3rd will mark the installation of the 113th Congress, and the close of service of the current Congress.  That means, If the measure, approved by both Houses, Is not on the President’s desk by noon Thursday, the bill dies, and Congress would have to start anew.  Just to be clear, the GOP has less leverage over this process today than they did on December 31st, and they will have somewhat less leverage Thursday, as the 113th Congress has a few more Democrats in both Houses of Congress, and of course, Mr. Obama will still be President; advantage Democrats.

As yesterday evening wound down, the House seemed to come to the realization that there is a need to at least vote on the Senate approved measure, versus trying to deleverage it by adding an amendment, or a series of amendments to amp up the number of spending cuts.  It was projected that the House would schedule a vote around after debate.  A move to exempt the vote from standing rules, which require a 72-hour review period before a vote, began around 9:00 p.m. EST.

The House approved the exemption, and subsequently voted 257-167 to approve the bill, culminating the action around 11:00 p.m.  Speaker Boehner and House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan voted for the measure; House Majority Leader Cantor did not.  In the other Chamber, Senator Rubio also did not vote for the Senate version of the bill.  Overall, Democrats voted 172-16 in favor of the bill while Republicans voted 151-85 against it.  President Obama made brief comments after the vote, and was reportedly quickly off to join his family in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he will resume his vacation.     

Lest anyone suffer from the illusion that the resolution of this issue means the matter is over, and we may now move on with our lives; woe be unto your vision of the way things work.  Two months from now this discordant debate will be revisited upon us with gusto, as the new battle lines will be drawn around the dual issues of the debt ceiling, and the delayed sequestration.

Clearly, there will be time and multiple opportunities in the future to address these twin challenges.  The news cycles will likely begin elevating them before the ink is dry on the Fiscal Cliff legislation.  For now, the answer to question, “Deal, or no Deal?” is Deal!

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