Smart Money: A day after Chuck Hagel was confirmed as the secretary of defense, the Senate confirmed Jack Lew as the new Treasury secretary. The vote was 71-26. Lew, who most recently served as the White House chief of staff, was the budget director for Presidents Obama and Clinton. “His reputation as a master of fiscal issues who can work with leaders on both sides of the aisle has already helped him succeed in some of the toughest jobs in Washington,” Obama said in a statement. (Read more)
Coming to a Standstill: President Obama is set to meet with congressional leaders—including House Speaker John Boehner— about the sequester Friday, the same day the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts are set to kick in. The Associated Press reports, however, that it’s unlikely the two sides will reach a breakthrough and hammer out a deal to avoid the sequester. But on top of the cuts, Congress now has something else to worry about—avoiding a possible government shutdown at the end of March. “Republicans are planning for a vote next week on a bill to fund the day-to-day operations of the government through the Sept. 30 end of the 2013 fiscal year—while keeping in place the new $85 billion in cuts of 5 percent to domestic agencies and 8 percent to the military,” the AP writes. (Read more)
Hope for Dope: A new Field Poll shows that a majority of Californians want the state to follow Washington’s and Colorado’s lead and legalize recreational pot. According to the survey, 54 percent of voters in the Golden State favor marijuana being legalized, regulated and taxed, compared with 43 percent of those who don’t. The poll comes just two years after a proposition that would have legalized cannabis in the state failed to garner a majority of voter support. (Read more)
Firing Away: Sarah Palin, who is aways right according to frequently wrong conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, claims the federal government is accumulating bullets to prepare for possible civil unrest if the country defaults on its debt. “If we are going to wet our proverbial pants over 0.3% in annual spending cuts when we’re running up trillion dollar annual deficits, then we’re done. Put a fork in us. We’re finished. We’re going to default eventually and that’s why the feds are stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest,” the former Alaska governor said on a Facebook post. She added: “The real economic Armageddon looming before us is our runaway debt, not the sequester, which the President advocated for and signed into law and is now running around denouncing because he never had any genuine intention of reining in his reckless spending.” (Read more)
Video of the Day: In this edition of “comparisons that don’t make sense,” Illinois state Rep. Jim Sacia, a Republican, says gun control is just like castration. “Here’s an analogy folks. I ask you to think of this: You folks in Chicago want me to get castrated because your families are having too many kids. It spells out exactly what is happening here! You want us to get rid of guns,” he said.