Wednesday, February 20, 2013

8 Days to Austerity

Holy Benjamin Sequester!!

Have you heard about it? Say what, don't know what's just over the next fiscal cliff is known as the "sequester." Got that?  Too busy with dealing with your daily life or keeping up with your favorite diversion. Well fret not, because COP 24/7 will not let you down in keeping you in the know about the political craziness that just keeps on coming. Let's start from the basics such as the "what the hell is the sequester anyway and why should I care" approach. O.K. listen up.

The sequester is a group of cuts to federal spending set to take effect March 1, barring further congressional action. The sequester was originally passed as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), better known as the debt ceiling compromise.

It was intended to serve as incentive for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the “Supercommittee”) to come to a deal to cut $1.5 trillion over 10 years. If the committee had done so, and Congress had passed it by Dec. 23, 2011, then the sequester would have been averted.
Obviously, that didn’t happen.The Budget Control Act originally stipulated that the sequester cuts would take effect at the beginning of 2013. Together with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the payroll tax cut, this would have amounted to a giant fiscal contraction, almost certainly throwing the United States into another recession. The combination of policies came to be known as “the fiscal cliff.” A deal was reached to avert the cliff, in which the sequester was delayed to March 1.

This takes us to the "who gets cut?" The cuts are evenly split between domestic and defense programs, with half affecting defense discretionary spending (weapons purchases, base operations, construction work, etc.) and the rest affecting both mandatory (which generally means regular payouts like Social Security or Medicaid) and discretionary domestic spending. Only a few mandatory programs, like the unemployment trust fund and, most notably, Medicare (more specifically its provider payments) are affected. The bulk of cuts are borne by discretionary spending for either defense or domestic functions. Are there exemptions? You betcha. Most mandatory programs, like Medicaid and Social Security, and in particular low-income programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF, or welfare) and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps) were exempt from the sequester. And the possible grand total is...survey says: $85.4 billion in cuts.

And Finally what the hell has this to do with you? There's going to be a feeding frenzy of interest groups and coalitions that are going to be "in the room" to make sure that their constituencies are not going to be affected by any of this. Ultimately, because many of you will not get informed or educated about what's really going on. Therefore you most likely won't know what hit you until the sequester tide wave is upon you. In other words, Get involved, Get Educated, Be empowered. Stay tuned to COP 24/7 for the latest updates.

River Valley Equality Center Raises Local Awareness

A LGBTQ awareness visibility action will be promoted by the River Valley Equality Center in Van Buren this Saturday, February 23, 2013. 11am to 1pm. According to organizer the action to be held on a corner near the restaurant that cancelled their fundraiser is not seen as a protest but a "positive" affirmation of the groups vision and mission. Parties interested in participating will be meeting at 10:30am at Experian in Van Buren (3119 Cloverleaf Plaza) to go over the guidelines. The group encourages all participants to create and display signage with positive messaging. ( pictured: RVEC members and allies)

Earlier this year the group made news as they learned that a planned fundraiser was cancelled by Richard Hodo of Sisters Gourmet Bistro as he learned the nature of the group. He commented,"I told them that I do not support their cause."  Continuing he said, That if they want to do that, that's their business. I do not care, but I don't support their lifestyle and their cause." Mr. Hodo publicy cited his opposition to the group as he would if they were the Ku Klux Klan. River Valley organizers say Hodo's refusal to serve them amounts to antigay discrimination, and noted that the owners comparison of the center to a white supremacist hate-group as offensive. "It felt like he was comparing us as equals with the KKK," said River Valley organizer Sarah Sarrubbo. "And we're about completely opposite things."
Since that rebuff, the group has rescheduled their event for Saturday, March 16th, 2013 at Big Jake's Steakhouse 1702 Fayetteville Rd., Van Buren, AR. 5pm-9pm. 
The evening will feature a silent auction and a slate of local comedians. Tickets can be purchased through Brad Martin (479-769-4750) or  the groups paypal account(  Prices ranges from $10 each or $15 per couple for advanced purchases. If you buy the day of the event, then ticket prices go up $5 ($15 each and $20 per couple).
All proceeds go to the River Valley Equality Center to help with non profit start up fees and to help fund programs that are planned to start within the coming year. The group has started a GoFundMe crowd funding page at  Their goal is $2,500.00. Currently they have raise $350.00 toward that goal. COP 24/7 encourages our readers to check it out and consider sharing your treasure with this worthwhile entity.

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COP 24/7 has been serving Arkansas' gay communities for the past seven years and counting. So what's needed? Our business model has been to offer our original content and source materials without secured funding, however, in order to scale up our outreach and effectiveness I've determined that more this medium must harness more monetizing streams as well as encouraging end users to utilize our upcoming online donation gadgets to show there support. It is vital that sources such as COP 24/7 exist in a state where such outlets are few. Therefore, look for more additions and fundraising campaigns that will give COP 24/7 the resources to keep bring you more of what we hope you are looking for!  Come follow us and express yourselves in Arkansas's LGBTQ digital town hall!  Hit us up directly using our comment section or use our zip links for helpful additional resources. Let us hear from you TODAY!!!!

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