Friday Open Thread

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree  is a Christmas song written by Johnny Marks and recorded by Brenda Lee in 1958 on Decca 9-30776.

Although Decca released it in both 1958 and again in 1959, it did not sell well until Lee became a popular star in 1960; that Christmas season, it hit #14 on the Billboard pop chart and turned into a perennial holiday favorite. It continued to sell well during the holiday season, hitting #5 on the Christmas chart as late as 1984. Brenda Lee’s recording still receives a great deal of airplay. Despite the song’s title, its instrumentation also fits the Country genre which Brenda Lee more fully embraced as her career evolved. Despite her mature-sounding voice, she recorded this song when she was only 14 years old. The recording featured Hank Garland’s ringing guitar. For decades, Brenda Lee’s recording was the only notable version of the song. Radio stations ranging from Top 40 to Adult Contemporary to Country Music to Oldies to even Adult Standards played this version.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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79 Responses to Friday Open Thread

  1. Twitter:

    things said in the cain house tonight.

    I’m getting tired of your ish…

  2. Christopher Hayes:

    If the tea-party base of the GOP rallies around Newt it will boost the thesis that Tea Party has no real principles other than hating Obama

  3. rikyrah says:

    We’re not at the end of the beginning, but perhaps the beginning of the end
    by Soonergrunt

    Something huge happened today. The kind of thing that changes the nature of the economy, and Americans’ relationship with their government, and with the corporations that seem to rule so much of our world.

    Today is the day that a significant part of the Affordable Care Act took effect. Today is the day that companies that sell and provide health insurance have to start spending 80% to 85% of their income from insurance premiums actually delivering the services for which they charge their customers. Overhead like office space and supplies, marketing expenses, salaries, and yes, profits have to come out of the remaining 15-20%. The rule is called the the medical loss ratio, and in an important decision recently by the Department of Health and Human Services, the insurance companies cannot count the sales commissions that they give out to the people who sell you your insurance plan against the medical loss ratio.

    The MLR can ONLY be allowed expenses, which must be actual costs of coverable medical expenses. This is huge. This means no more nonsense like refusing your mother’s cancer treatment because she forgot about that prescription skin cream she had for acne when she was fifteen when she was filling out the application. Hell, the insurance companies are going to be scrambling to pay for coverable things because any part of that 80-85% they don’t spend on allowables will have to be refunded to the policy holders.

    Simply put, this is the end of the beginning of the long track to single payer health care


    So, can private health insurance companies manage to make a profit when they actually have to spend premium receipts taking care of their customers’ health needs as promised? Not a chance-and they know it. Indeed, we are already seeing the parent companies who own these insurance operations fleeing into other types of investments. They know what we should all know – we are now on an inescapable path to a single-payer system for most Americans and thank goodness for it.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/12/02/were-not-at-the-end-of-the-beginning-but-perhaps-the-beginning-of-the-end/

  4. rikyrah says:

    Payroll Tax Holiday Royally Screws Republicans as Obama Plows Ahead with Jobs Agenda
    Friday, December 02, 2011 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 3:00 PM

    This month’s jobs report was a pleasant surprise to the American people, with the unemployment rate dropping to 8.6% from 9% last month. While the drop in the unemployment rate was due in part to some people leaving the workforce, it is also due in large part to the fact that as 140,000 private sector jobs were added this month (Republican governors and state legislators did their best to hold down employment by eliminating 20,000 public sector jobs last month), the last two months’ jobs numbers were also significantly revised up. That brings the number of private sector jobs created this year to nearly 2 million.

    President Obama wasted no time promoting his jobs agenda on the occasion of this news, showing up with President Clinton to bolster his case

    As the New York Times reports, the overall numbers and medium term trends have been positive:

    Employment in the previous two months was revised upward substantially, and the report showed that companies have been taking on more and more temporary workers, indicating that more permanent hires may be in the cards, too.

    Other recent economic reports have also been positive, including increases in help-wanted advertising, retail sales and auto sales in particular; decreases in jobless claims; and a loosening of credit conditions for small businesses. Perhaps most encouraging was a recent survey of small businesses that found hiring intentions to be at their highest level since September 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed.
    This is crucial. Small businesses not only employ half of all American workers, they also create two out of three new jobs. When small businesses are gearing up their plans to hire, it indicates that they are looking at increasing consumer demand for their products. If the current holiday shopping season is any indication, consumer demand is indeed up.

    And this is freaking Republicans out. That the President’s jobs agenda is working is largely a testament to his policies of economic stimulus, targeted payroll tax relief for working people and investing in America as much as he can despite Republican hostility to American domestic employment. And part of this agenda, the payroll tax cut, is tearing into the fabric of Republican unity. The party leadership is worried that given the fact that President Obama is winning the message war on jobs, Republicans could be punished next year if they don’t extend the payroll tax cut. The “rank and file” – umm, i.e. the crazy Teabaggers – do NOT like giving tax breaks to anyone but the super rich, not if they can’t also gut the social safety net.

    The current one-year tax cut for workers ends after Dec. 31, and Mr. Obama has proposed an even bigger tax cut for another year that also covers employers, paid for with a surtax on those with more than $1 million in annual taxable income. Republicans oppose the surtax and they are split over whether to extend the payroll tax cut, with many dead set against further temporary stimulus measures. [...]

    Mr. [Jeff] Flake [R-AZ] said, “We should not be extending the payroll tax holiday unless we have the courage to reform entitlement programs as well.”

    Republicans voiced several concerns. First, they said, the tax cut could undermine the Social Security trust fund. Second, they said, extension of the tax cut would have a substantial cost, nearly $120 billion in one year. Third, they said, the cost would be incurred in one year, but offset over 10 years. Finally, they said, Congress could find itself in exactly the same situation at the end of 2012.

    The problem with their logic, of course, is that it’s idiotic. The payroll tax cut does nothing whatsoever to undermine the Social Security Trust Fund, since revenue is taken from general fund to compensate for that. But the truth of the matter is this is precisely the reason the Right wing opposes the payroll tax cut. They are against a social safety net program being even partially funded by revenue that comes from a progressive part of the tax code, namely the income tax.

    Second, cost. Really? The same airheads who want the Bush tax cuts for the rich extended without paying for them in any way are worried about the cost of a tax cut to the working Americans and small business? I thought tax cuts didn’t have to be paid for! And it IS paid for, with a surtax on millionaires. Oh no, a tax on “job creators!” Well, the good news is this very plan lets those “job creators” earn back their surtax if they just employ enough people from the reduction they will get on the employer side of the payroll tax!

    Yes, Congress could find itself in the same situation at the end of next year. And they should. Because as I said before, the payroll tax is a flat tax – a regressive tax that burdens the poorest the most. Maybe next year Congress can do its job and come up with a leaner, cleaner tax code that eliminates loopholes and relies on a progressive income tax to fund more programs, including social safety nets.


    Representative Charles Boustany Jr., Republican of Louisiana, said, “The leadership was hoping there would be broad acceptance of the package they presented, but there wasn’t.”

    Republican leaders said they were trying to figure out how to address their members’ concerns, as part of a legislative package that could also include an extension of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and a measure to spare doctors from a 27 percent cut in their Medicare reimbursements, scheduled to occur on Jan. 1.

    The GOP is screwed. Royally. Their leadership promoted the crazies, and now the crazies are coming back to bite them in the ass. They don’t care if what they are about to do – that is, raise taxes on ALL working Americans – will end their dreams of holding on to power in Congress and much of the state houses, they are true believers. They believe in their heart of hearts that the rich pay too much in taxes and that the poor pay too little. That leaves the Republican leadership in a precarious situation: they can rescue themselves by working with Democrats and passing a version of the payroll tax extension while leaving behind their own wingnut base (who will subsequently chew their heads out), or they can go with their wingnut base and all be turned out of office en masse. Lose, lose.

    http://www.thepeoplesview.net/2011/12/payroll-tax-holiday-royally-screws.html

  5. rikyrah says:

    Two Lesbians Raised A Baby And This Is What They Got

  6. rikyrah says:

    The Hard Student

    When I first was asked to give a talk at MIT, I knew that I wanted my father to be there. My hosts graciously acceded to that request and both of us were excited for the joint visit. But Pops got sick last weekend and wasn’t able to make it. That was depressing. Here are some thoughts on why.

    Again, George L Ruffin on Frederick Douglass:


    His range of reading has been wide and extensive. He has been a hard student. In every sense of the word, he is a self-made man. By dint of hard study he has educated himself, and to-day it may be said he has a well-trained intellect. He has surmounted the disadvantage of not having a university education, by application and well-directed effort.

    He seems to have realized the fact, that to one who is anxious to become educated and is really in earnest, it is not positively necessary to go to college, and that information may be had outside of college walks; books may be obtained and read elsewhere. They are not chained to desks in college libraries, as they were in early times at Oxford.

    Professors’ lectures may be bought already printed, learned doctors may be listened to in the lyceum, and the printing-press has made it easy and cheap to get information on every subject and topic that is discussed and taught in the university. Douglass never made the mistake (a common one) of considering that his education was finished. He has continued to study, he studies now, and is a growing man, and at this present moment he is a stronger man intellectually than ever before.

    It should be understood that Ruffin, at the time of this writing, was an exemplary product of the Academy. He was the first African-American to graduate from Harvard Law and the first African-American judge in the country. So he was not a foe of university education. But he didn’t believe that those who found that education out of reach should then just throw up their hands.

    Ruffin was writing at a time when very few Americans, much less African-Americans, would have the luxury of college attendance. More to the point he was writing at a time when the very notion of educating African-Americans was under attack. Consider his thoughts on the vindicating intellectual life of Douglass:


    The life and work of Douglass has been a complete vindication of the colored people in this respect. It has refuted and overthrown the position taken by some writers, that colored people were deficient in mental qualifications and were incapable of attaining high intellectual position. We may reasonably expect to hear no more of this now, the argument is exploded. Douglass has settled the fact the right way, and it is something to settle a fact.

    This is a man obviously possessed by that utterly irrational optimism that has historically afflicted black people beholding the wonder, if unfulfilled, of the American Dream. We shall not be unkind and hold the contagion against Ruffin. Many of us, nationalist inoculations be damned, have of late found ourselves brought low by that same peculiar malaise.

    In Ruffin’s time, the attacks on black intellect were not (as they are today) matters relegated to letters, journals and tomes. They were matters enforced by white terrorists–the Klan, the White Liners, the Red Shirts etc. Phrenologists asserted the limited potential of the African brain. The White Leagues made those claims into prophecy. So when white terrorists picked their targets, instruments of black intellectual improvement were always high on the list–black schools and black churches were torched, Teachers (many of them white) who’d traveled South to educate the newly emancipated were beaten, lynched and publicly whipped.

    I don’t say this simply as a matter of moral castigation. The terrorists are the 19th century could be no other way. Their parents had perpetrated the same war, as a matter of law by banning the education of enslaved black people. The essence of white supremacy meant lawfully keeping black people ignorant, and then justifying that ignorance as the work of God, and later the work of Darwin. Thus in the 19th century, the reaction to black education was twofold. In the academy it was laughed at by men employing all the tools of “science” to justify their mockery. Outside the academy it gave us by the greatest instance of home-grown terror in American history.

    Against such the horde, people like Ruffin wielded education like an axe. If that education could not always be garnered in white universities, it would have to be garnered by black people themselves through “application and well-directed effort.” We would have to be “hard students.”


    The black tradition is riddled with examples of such people–some of them prominent, some of them tragic. If you talk to old black Southerners it won’t take long before someone reflects on black person murdered, or who barely escaped murder, for the crime of knowing too much. The accusation of being “uppity” was always rooted in the idea of black people possessing a knowledge that outstripped their God-assigned place. That outstripping was never too far removed from education–formal or otherwise. When right-wing pundits calls Princeton graduate Michelle Obama “uppity” they are participating in old and unfortunate tradition.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2011/12/the-hard-student/249323/

  7. rikyrah says:

    K Street, Wall Street line up behind Sen. Scott Brown in his race against Elizabeth Warren

    Prospect of Elizabeth Warren in the U.S. Senate motivates K Street, Wall Street to support Scott Brown
    By Peter H. Stone
    14 hours, 31 minutes ago

    Sen. Scott Brown’s campaign and his political action committee are hustling for millions of dollars from K Street lobbyists and Wall Street interests to keep the Massachusetts seat of iconic Democrat Edward M. Kennedy in Republican hands.

    Whether the freshman senator can win re-election in the predominantly Democratic state could be a critical factor in GOP efforts to wrest control of the Senate.

    Next week, Brown backers are slated to hold at least two fundraisers to fill the coffers of Scott PAC and his campaign. On Dec. 7, his campaign is hosting a money bash at the National Theater, where the play “Jersey Boys” is currently running. And on Dec. 11, Scott PAC is holding a fundraiser at Fed Ex Field when the Washington Redskins take on the New England Patriots.

    Financial service lobbyists and other K Street advocates have for weeks been working hard to help the freshman senator win his high-stakes battle for re-election against Elizabeth Warren, a liberal Harvard law professor. Warren is anathema for many finance-sector lobbyists and Wall Street leaders who abhor the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau— a centerpiece of the financial services overhaul—of which Warren was the intellectual architect.

    Even though Brown’s campaign had over $10.5 million in the bank as of Sept. 30, lobbyists are in overdrive to raise millions more because Warren’s campaign is off to a fast start and a new poll shows her with a slight edge over Brown.

    Deep-pocketed GOP allies such as Crossroads GPS, the Karl Rove-founded group backed by secret donors, have sought to help Brown with negative TV spots against Warren. Last month, Crossroads GPS spent about $600,000 on an ad that said “Elizabeth Warren sides with extreme left protesters,” a reference to the Occupy Wall Street movement.

    In response, Warren was blunt: “It’s fair to say that I’ve been protesting Wall Street for years and years,” she said in a TV interview with a Boston station. But when pressed about the tactics of the protesters, Warren said, “Everybody has to follow the law. There’s no exception on that.”

    Other advertising firepower on Brown’s behalf is expected to come from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The business behemoth will be engaged early and heavily in Massachusetts with ads as the Chamber did, to the tune of about $1 million, when Brown won his special election in early 2010.

    Inside the Beltway, fundraising has been heating up too. On Nov. 30, veteran financial services lobbyist Dan Crowley, a partner at K & L Gates, hosted a breakfast fundraiser for the senator that drew about a dozen other lobbyists. “There is no Senate race that more clearly reflects the choice for the future direction of the country,” Crowley said, pitting the role of government versus the role of the private sector.

    Other GOP lobbyists are also in high gear to boost Brown.

    “Sen. Brown’s politics are tailor made for New York Republicans who tend to be very concerned about economic growth and fiscally conservative, but more libertarian on social issues,” Wayne Berman, vice chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, told iWatch News.

    Berman, whose lobbying clients include financial heavyweights like the Blackstone Group and Carlyle Group, co-hosted an early November breakfast fundraiser for Brown at New York’s tony Lever House.

    In his two Senate races, Brown’s top five contributors included four financial giants: Fidelity Investments, Goldman Sachs, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., and Liberty Mutual Insurance, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The most generous donor has been FMR Corp., the parent of Fidelity Investments, chipping in at least $97,000 to his campaign committees from executives and the firm’s PAC.

    Executives and PACs affiliated with Goldman Sachs pumped at least $60,500 into Brown’s coffers; at least $51,000 from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance; and at least $46,000 from Liberty Mutual Insurance.

    http://www.iwatchnews.org/2011/12/02/7546/k-street-wall-street-line-behind-sen-scott-brown-his-race-against-elizabeth-warren

  8. rikyrah says:

    The radical dangers of Mitt Romney’s America
    As president, the shape-shifting Republican would bow to the far Right — and sacrifice many of the programs and ideals that make this nation great
    posted on December 2, 2011, at 6:20 AM

    One of the nation’s most prominent columnists told me in the past few days that he had almost written that Mitt Romney was the inevitable Republican nominee, but at the last minute, pulled back and hedged his prediction with a formulaic qualifier. Not me. For months, I’ve been boldly stating that it’s Romney. After all, I asked, who the hell else have they got?

    Well, right now, Newt Gingrich — ahead in Iowa, closing in New Hampshire, pulling away in South Carolina, beating Romney by the astounding margin of 47 percent to 17 percent in the probable rubber-match state of Florida. Can it last? Is the year so weird that the traditional metrics — money, organization, a long-term strategic plan — don’t matter, or won’t make enough of a difference? I still believe, logically, perhaps stubbornly, that in the end, the unpalatable Romney is likely to prevail over the improbable Gingrich or some last hour, unthinkable incarnation of yet another non-Mitt.

    The resistance to the obvious nominee reflects the nagging instinct of the GOP’s dominant right wing that, whatever his peccadilloes and his pyrotechnic deviations from orthodoxy, Newt is at heart a conservative, and that Mitt is at heart a con man.

    Both propositions are amply justified on the public record, but for conservatives, the judgment about Romney should be irrelevant. The Right shouldn’t be afraid of him; it’s the rest of us who should. If elected, Romney would be imprisoned in his presidency by wary Republicans who would watch his every move and threaten his renomination if he ever dared to be pragmatic. Whether he means what he says, doing it would be his only politically viable choice in the White House.

    http://theweek.com/bullpen/column/222044/the-radical-dangers-of-mitt-romneys-america/1

  9. rikyrah says:

    Pelosi Puts The Kibosh On GOP Payroll Tax Cut Strategy
    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says Republicans can forget about using the looming expiration of a year-long payroll tax holiday for workers to squeeze a host of unrelated conservative priorities through Congress, and projected confidently that her party has the GOP cornered on the issue.

    In an exclusive interview Friday with TPM, Pelosi sketched out the Democrats’ strategy for renewing (and possibly expanding) the payroll tax cut, which most economists say would promote job creation next year — when persistent unemployment will be at the center of the election debate.

    “It is really a stalling tactic,” Pelosi said of recent reports that Republicans want to use the lapsing tax cut as leverage to pass key GOP priorities, including construction of a major oil pipeline from the Canadian border to the Gulf of Mexico, and rolling back Obama’s health care law. “It’s unworthy of the needs of the American people for them to go all around the mulberry bush with this stuff. If they want to do something for the American people — to remove the uncertainty as to whether these payroll tax cuts will be extended, whether [unemployment insurance] will be extended … let’s just get about doing it.”

    “They know that this stuff isn’t going to fly, that the President’s not going to sign it — so why are they doing this,” Pelosi says. “It’s about votes at the end of the day, and some of their people are never going to vote for anything, so they’re going to need our votes, we’re going to have to work together, and they’re going to need the President’s signature — and they’re going to need it to pass the Senate.”

    Pelosi attacked the GOP for demanding that renewing the temporary payroll tax cut be offset, while insisting on large, permanent, unpaid for income tax cuts for wealthy Americans. But that is their demand. And in that context, Pelosi became the first member of Democratic leadership to propose paying for the cuts with funds that were previously expected to pay for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    “What does extending the payroll tax cut have to do with the Keystone Pipeline? What does it have to do with spectrum and the rest of that?” Pelosi asked. “We can easily go get this money out of the Overseas Contingency Fund [war savings]. Easily. Pay for that, pay for [the Medicare doc fix]. We shouldn’t pay for unemployment insurance — it’s an emergency. Money’s been paid into it. As money is continued to be paid into it, it evens out. So we shouldn’t have to offset that. But the other two, we can just go to [war savings] and get it done. If you insist on paying for that.”

    In their budget plans, Republicans have recommended counting war savings toward GOP priorities, but have since claimed that repurposing war savings is a fiscal gimmick. If they balk at the idea, but still demand that the payroll tax holiday be paid for, Pelosi says Congress will find the money.

    “Just say for a moment that they say, well we used [war savings] to offset our priorities, but we’re not going to use it to offset your priorities,” Pelosi said. “Sure, we can find some places. They know there’s some places that we can cut [and] it doesn’t have to be spending. It could be tax subsidies for big oil, those kinds of things. They’re substantial.”

    Ideally, Democratic leaders and President Obama would like to deepen the payroll tax holiday, and extend it to employers — to maximize fiscal stimulus during the election year, with the economy barely growing, and threatened by the risk of a major financial crisis in Europe. Pelosi would not characterize that as a hard Democratic demand, but she said that allowing the cut to lapse is off the table. And if the tax cut isn’t deepened, Democrats will push to deepen it next year.

    “You have to extend the payroll tax, because if you don’t you’ll have an increase in taxes for people,” Pelosi said. “You can do better than that, and they should. … Right now that’s where we’d like to be. If we end up with just renewing the payroll tax cut, we will continue to make that argument.”

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/pelosi-puts-the-kibosh-on-gop-payroll-tax-cut-strategy.php?ref=fpa

  10. rikyrah says:

    posted at 04:46 PM ET, 12/01/2011
    Newt Gingrich’s disgusting remarks about ‘really poor children’
    By Jonathan Capehart

    Newt Gingrich, the know-it-all former Speaker of the House who now rides atop the polls for the Republican nomination for president, has been shooting his mouth off lately. He called himself a celebrity who makes $60,000 a speech. Another favorite is, “I helped Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp develop supply side economics. I helped lead the effort to defeat communism in the Congress.” I didn’t realize communism in Congress was an issue, but I digress.

    Then, a tweet from Charles Blow of the New York Times piqued my interest.

    RT @foxnewspolitics Gingrich: Poor kids don’t know work unless it’s crime: politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/12/01/new… < Oh HELL no! What?! Somebody get

    Surely, the Fox News report was referring to something from Gingrich’s end-welfare past. Would that were so.

    GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich defended his stance against certain child labor laws during a campaign stop in Iowa Thursday, saying that children born into poverty aren’t accustomed to working unless it involves crime.

    “Really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works so they have no habit of showing up on Monday,” Gingrich claimed.

    “They have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal,” he added.

    That was today, folks! A lot can be said about the plight of families unlucky enough not to make $60,000 for a half-hour of bloviation or about their equally unlucky children who are deprived delightful cruises through the Greek isles. But Gingrich’s blanket condemnation of “really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods” is unbelievably disgusting. And it’s disrespectful of the overwhelming majority of those children and their families who live their lives with far more integrity and far less cash than Gingrich ever will.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/newt-gingrichs-disgusting-remarks-about-really-poor-children/2011/03/04/gIQASoLpHO_blog.html?hpid=z3

  11. rikyrah says:

    The Bomb Buried In Obamacare Explodes Today-Hallelujah!

    I have long argued that the impact of the Affordable Care Act is not nearly as big of a deal as opponents would have you believe. At the end of the day, the law is – in the main – little more than a successful effort to put an end to some of the more egregious health insurer abuses while creating an environment that should bring more Americans into programs that will give them at least some of the health care coverage they need.

    There is, however, one notable exception – and it’s one that should have a long lasting and powerful impact on the future of health care in our country.

    That would be the provision of the law, called the medical loss ratio, that requires health insurance companies to spend 80% of the consumers’ premium dollars they collect—85% for large group insurers—on actual medical care rather than overhead, marketing expenses and profit. Failure on the part of insurers to meet this requirement will result in the insurers having to send their customers a rebate check representing the amount in which they underspend on actual medical care.

    This is the true ‘bomb’ contained in Obamacare and the one item that will have more impact on the future of how medical care is paid for in this country than anything we’ve seen in quite some time. Indeed, it is this aspect of the law that represents the true ‘death panel’ found in Obamacare—but not one that is going to lead to the death of American consumers. Rather, the medical loss ration will, ultimately, lead to the death of large parts of the private, for-profit health insurance industry.

    Why? Because there is absolutely no way for-profit health insurers are going to be able to learn how to get by and still make a profit while being forced to spend at least 80 percent of their receipts providing their customers with the coverage for which they paid. If they could, we likely would never have seen the extraordinary efforts made by these companies to avoid paying benefits to their customers at the very moment they need it the most.

    Today, that bomb goes off.

    Today, the Department of Health & Human Services issues the rules of what insurer expenditures will—and will not—qualify as a medical expense for purposes of meeting the requirement.

    As it turns out, HHS isn’t screwing around. They actually mean to see to it that the insurance companies spend what they should taking care of their customers.

    Here’s an example: For months, health insurance brokers and salespeople have been lobbying to have the commissions they earn for selling an insurer’s program to consumers be included as a ‘medical expense’ for purposes of the rules. HHS has, today, given them the official thumbs down, as well they should have. Selling me a health insurance policy is simply not the same as providing me with the medical care I am entitled to under the policy. Sales is clearly an overhead cost in any business and had HHS included this as a medical cost, it would have signaled that they are not at all serious about enforcing the concept of the medical loss ratio.

    So, can private health insurance companies manage to make a profit when they actually have to spend premium receipts taking care of their customers’ health needs as promised?

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2011/12/02/the-bomb-buried-in-obamacare-explodes-today-halleluja/

  12. rikyrah says:

    Walker’s New Plan: Charge Protesters Big Money
    Eric Kleefeld December 2, 2011, 12:54 PM

    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s administration is rolling out a new strategy to deal with the waves of protests that have fallen upon the state Capitol, ever since he rolled out his anti-public employee union legislation, and which have given rise to the recall campaigns targeting him and other Republicans: Make the protesters pay for all the costs of the increased event security.

    As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, the Walker administration announced the new policy on Thursday, and it will be phased in by Dec. 16. Under the policy, groups of four or more people must request permits at least 72 hours in advance, for events at the state Capitol or other state buildings.

    In addition, organizers would have to pay for the extra Capitol police officers, at a rate of $50 per hour per officer — plus costs for police officers brought in from outside agencies, according to the costs billed to the state. The police payment would have to be tendered in advance, as a requirement for getting a permit. Afterwards, organizers would then be charged for any clean-up costs.

    The new rules have First Amendment experts asking some questions

    Edward Fallone, an associate professor at Marquette University Law School, said the possibility of charging demonstrators for police costs might be problematic because some groups might not be able to afford to pay.

    “I’m a little skeptical about charging people to express their First Amendment opinion,” he said. “You can’t really put a price tag on the First Amendment.”

    Bob Dreps, a lawyer who handles First Amendment cases including work for the Journal Sentinel, noted that the state can put some restrictions on the “time, place and manner” of free speech. But he said it was “laughable” to define a rally as four or more people.

    “They still have to be reasonable on their face,” Dreps said of the rules.

    When asked for comment, state Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski told TPM: “This is more evidence of Scott Walker running Wisconsin like a Banana Republic, with no regard for our traditions or norms. This is an administration obsessed with quashing dissent and demeaning all democratic tools available to citizens who right now are rising up against it. It is un-American.”

    Starting this past February, when the legislation was first rolled out, there have been many protests at the Capitol, some of which attracted tens of thousands of people. In some ways, the protests were arguably the true forerunner of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

    During the most heated moments, when protesters were staying day and night in the Capitol, police were brought in from around the state to guarantee security — with a reported increase in law enforcement costs of $8 million, for February and March.

    This reporter was flown out to Madison for those protests, and can say that things actually went very smoothly, with demonstrators cooperating with police and maintaining some sense of order. Though it was certainly very, very loud, there was also a lack of any violent incidents — an amazing thing, when one considers that there were so many amassed angry people.

    At one point, the Walker administration attempted to shut the demonstrations down by going to court, and stating in submitted documents that there had been multi-million dollar damages to the building. However, they quickly backed away from the multi-million claim, when it was found that there had been no professional estimate. However, that number would go on to be touted on Republican talk radio and other venues.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/walkers-new-plan-charge-protesters-big-money.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

  13. Ametia says:

    Herman Cain nearing decision on candidacy

    By Karen Tumulty and Sandhya Somashekhar, Updated: Friday, December 2, 2:38 PM

    Embattled presidential candidate Herman Cain is inviting his top supporters and donors to Atlanta on Saturday for a meeting in which he will give them advance word of whether he intends to continue his campaign, sources close to the campaign said Friday.

    “Tomorrow in Atlanta, I will be making an announcement. But no one is gonna get me to make that prematurely,” Cain said Friday at a town hall event in South Carolina.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/cain-nearing-decision-on-candidacy/2011/12/02/gIQAaxFOLO_story.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_afternoon&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_afternoon&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet

  14. rikyrah says:

    December 02, 2011 3:30 PM

    With the grace of a crashing gymnast

    By Steve Benen

    Every single time the Huntsman campaign releases another anti-Romney video, I have the same reaction: “Hey, that’s pretty good!”

    I thought that about the “pretzel” video, the flipping-toy-monkey video, the weathervane video, and this week’s “Mittstant Replay” video.

    Today, via Taegan Goddard, Huntsman’s team offers another gem, this time connecting Romney’s incessant flip-flopping to his background with the Olympics. It turns out, Romney flips with all the grace of a crashing gymnast.

    Notice, again, that the video can, should, and probably will be used by any other campaign — just lob off the last five seconds and it’s good to go.

    And on a related note, Huntsman’s new video reminds me that Romney and the Olympics offer more than just a metaphor. We know a fair amount about Romney’s time at Bain Capital, where he broke up companies and laid off American workers, and quite a bit about Romney’s one term as governor, where he had an abysmal record of creating jobs and passed a health care law he doesn’t want to talk about, but what about the 2002 winter games in Utah?

    It’s true that the Olympics were in trouble when Romney took over, but as Frank Rich recently explained, “The most significant workers he added to the payroll in Salt Lake City were sixteen lobbyists, at a cost of nearly $4 million, to solicit taxpayers’ subsidies — ‘more federal cash than any previous U.S. Olympics,’ according to The Wall Street Journal. That’s hard to square with Romney’s current stand that jobs will bloom across the land if government stops giving any handouts (even to tornado victims, he said in the GOP debate) and lets the free market work its magic.”

    Right. Romney may have been a brutal vulture capitalist and an unpopular one-term governor, but he succeeded with the Olympics by increasing taxpayer spending, much of which went to investments in infrastructure — which Romney and his party now oppose.

    In fact, reader Gov’t Mule recently highlighted “the federal subsidies that were directed to Olympics-connected private interests,” including many who can fairly be described now as the “1 percent.”

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/with_the_grace_of_a_crashing_g033867.php

  15. rikyrah says:

    December 02, 2011 2:30 PM

    Gingrich’s grim ground game

    By Steve Benen

    For all the talk about Newt Gingrich and his grand, big ideas — most of which are neither big nor grand — a vision doesn’t get voters to the polls; a campaign ground game does.

    There’s a reasonable debate underway in many circles as to whether Gingrich’s recent rise is meaningful, a mirage, or a miracle — or perhaps some combination therein — and for what it’s worth, count me among the skeptics who still find it very hard to believe the disgraced former House Speaker is the likely nominee. But one of the factors driving my doubts is the fact that Gingrich’s entire campaign lacks basic, necessary components.

    In an embarrassing display of organizational weakness, for example, Gingrich recently failed to qualify for the ballot in Missouri’s primary. The campaign structure, such as it is, simply didn’t follow through. Similarly, the Gingrich team was supposed to provide New Hampshire officials with a list of 40 committee volunteers who would represent the campaign as Republican National Convention delegates — but Gingrich’s staff couldn’t track down 40 willing supporters. Instead, they submitted a hand-scrawled, typo-ridden list of 27 people.

    Of the major Republican candidates, Gingrich was the only one who failed to submit a full list of delegates and alternates — and polls show him running second in the state, so presumably he has some fans in the Granite State. Even Bachmann got it done, and she’s not even trying to compete in New Hampshire.

    And there’s Iowa, where Gingrich is considered a very strong contender, despite the fact that he opened his very first campaign office in the state this week, just five weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

    What’s going on? Politico reports that Gingrich has a “skeletal campaign operation,” which resembles a “mom-and-pop political operation.”

    At a recent Republican Party of Iowa dinner, several Republicans discussed how impressed they were by Gingrich and said they wanted to help his campaign, if only they could find someone to contact.

    Gingrich freely admits that the process of gearing up for a national campaign — the kind he was prepared to run before his initial staff resigned en masse in June — has been dizzying.

    “This is disorienting. This is such a rapid change that we’re having to rethink our own internal operations right now and where we are,” Gingrich told reporters after addressing a Polk County GOP event Thursday night.

    This was literally just last night. In other words, just 34 days before the Iowa caucuses, the alleged frontrunner has supporters who can’t even volunteer with his campaign, because there’s no operation for them to contact.

    And if Gingrich somehow manages to do well despite the bare-bones operations in the early nominating states, how will the campaign manage once the race becomes a national contest against the well-organized Romney team? Neither Gingrich nor his aides have the foggiest idea.

    Independent of whether Gingrich self-destructs and destroys his own chances, if his campaign falters down the stretch, this is likely to be a key reason why.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/gingrichs_grim_ground_game033866.php

  16. rikyrah says:

    Told to Diversify, Dock Union Offers a Nearly All-White RetortBy PATRICK McGEEHAN
    Published: November 30, 2011
    What part of diversity don’t you understand?

    That essentially was the question that visibly irritated members of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor asked at a hearing in Lower Manhattan on Tuesday morning. They wanted to know why the shipping companies that operate in the ports of New York and New Jersey could not find a single black, Hispanic or Asian person who could fill a stevedore’s job.

    The figure of the longshoreman has cut an enduring image of hard-working New York for decades. But troubled by a work force that remains predominantly white, the commission, a bistate agency that oversees the dockworkers, pressed the New York Shipping Association in May to produce a diverse pool of candidates for temporary jobs. The shippers deferred to the International Longshoremen’s Association, the union that has maintained an iron grip on the ports for decades, and the union came up with 37 candidates.

    All but four were white men. None were Hispanic. Only one was black, and, according to the commissioners, he did not really want a job. The other three were white women.

    “Imagine our dismay that in a diversity program, the I.L.A. would come up with an all-white slate of candidates,” Walter M. Arsenault, the executive director of the commission, said. “That’s an oxymoron.”

    The longshoremen’s union had no representative at the hearing Tuesday, so the man in the hot seat near the head of the conference table was Joseph Curto, the president of the shipping association, which represents 48 companies, including global giants like Maersk. Mr. Curto said he was “trying to overcome 60 years of custom and practice and a different mind-set on the I.L.A.’s part.”

    Mr. Arsenault said the commission was trying to do likewise, which was why it had demanded that the shippers and the union provide half of a pool of candidates for temporary jobs handling baggage at the harbor’s cruise-ship terminals. The commission planned to draw the other half of the pool from work-force centers in New York City and New Jersey.

    The commission, which is empowered by both states’ legislatures, hoped to fill more jobs on the docks with people who live in the neighborhoods that surround them. “The people around the ports are largely minorities,” said Ronald Goldstock, who represents New York on the commission. “They’re the ones that bear the brunt of the trucks rolling through their neighborhoods.”

    The commission cited three locals of the union, each of which had a membership that was at least 82 percent white, it said. But in a letter to Mr. Arsenault last week, Mr. Curto and Harold Daggett, the union’s president, countered that the commission had “cherry-picked” three small locals in New York with declining and aging memberships. Over all, the letter said, the union’s membership was 25 percent black and 13 percent Hispanic and reflective of the demographics of the metropolitan area.

    The union had already registered its disdain for the diversity idea when Mr. Daggett, at a previous hearing, described workers found through the work-force centers as “garbage,” but commission members pointed out on Tuesday that the 246 potential employees found through the work-force centers were better qualified for the jobs than those the union nominated. (A spokesman for the union said on Wednesday that Mr. Daggett later apologized.)

    Through a lottery in late spring, 33 of the commission’s candidates were chosen, and 21 went to work on July 1. Ten of them were black, seven were Hispanic and two were white. The program through which the workers were hired has to be renewed periodically; the commission agreed on Tuesday to extend it until May 31, 2012.

    When the commission recognized that virtually all of the union’s candidates were white, it stopped approving them, leaving eight in limbo. Frustrated, the commissioners wrote a letter to Milton Mollen, a former judge who advises the longshoremen’s union on ethical practices, saying they could not continue to pre-qualify the union’s candidates in light of the union’s “demonstrated lack of commitment to diversity, and their continued efforts to thwart the commission’s attempts to combat the discriminatory hiring practices in the port.”

    Mr. Curto said he was displeased that the commissioners did not notify him of their complaint to Mr. Mollen, saying it revealed a lack of respect.

    Fewer than 10 percent of the commission’s candidates failed a physical examination, while the failure rate of the union’s candidates was about three times as high, mostly because of positive tests for drug use, Mr. Arsenault said. Several other union candidates failed to qualify because they appeared to have ties to organized crime, but one of the commission’s candidates failed for that reason, he added.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/01/nyregion/told-to-diversify-dock-union-offers-nearly-all-white-list.html?_r=1

  17. rikyrah says:

    December 02, 2011 1:40 PM

    Raise Nick Hanauer’s taxes

    By Steve Benen

    Nick Hanauer’s op-ed this week on taxing the wealthy caused a stir, and with good reason. As Jared Bernstein put it, “This guy totally gets it.”

    If Hanauer’s name doesn’t sound familiar, he’s a very successful venture capitalist, playing a role in the creation of companies like Amazon.com. This week, he took on a standard Republican talking point: the notion that job creation suffers if taxes go up on the rich. Hanauer explained very well why the GOP’s approach is backwards.

    I can start a business based on a great idea, and initially hire dozens or hundreds of people. But if no one can afford to buy what I have to sell, my business will soon fail and all those jobs will evaporate.

    That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. What does lead to more employment is the feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion a virtuous cycle that allows companies to survive and thrive and business owners to hire. An ordinary middle-class consumer is far more of a job creator than I ever have been or ever will be.

    It appears that Hanauer, unlike GOP policymakers, understands supply and demand, and that three decades of concentrating wealth at the top doesn’t create an economic base that ensures broad prosperity. Republican can keep lavishing more and more money on the rich, but they’ll only spend so much.


    I can’t buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can’t buy any new clothes or enjoy any meals out. Or to make up for the decreasing consumption of the tens of millions of middle-class families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages.

    If the average American family still got the same share of income they earned in 1980, they would have an astounding $13,000 more in their pockets a year. It’s worth pausing to consider what our economy would be like today if middle-class consumers had that additional income to spend.

    Hanauer’s advice? Raise his taxes, make public investments, and get some money in the pockets of middle-class consumers.

    Digby’s take on this rings true: “This is a person who really doesn’t want to kill the golden goose of capitalism but would like to save it. It doesn’t speak well for the future of capitalism that there are so few entrepreneurs like him.”

    Damn straight.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/raise_nick_hanauers_taxes033863.php

  18. rikyrah says:

    How Much Was Race A Factor In 2008?
    New research indicates that “racial animus” cost Obama three to five points in the popular vote:

    [Seth] Stephens-Davidowitz limits his data to an area’s total [Google] searches from 2004 to 2007 that include the word “nigger” or “niggers” (terms used to constrain the amount of data). His analysis includes data from nearly 200 media markets, including over 99 percent of voters. The results are dramatic. “A one standard deviation increase in an area’s racially charged search is associated with a 1.5 percentage point decrease in Barack Obama’s vote share, controlling for John Kerry’s vote share,” writes Stephens-Davidowitz. … Put another way, Obama would have won between 56.7 and 58.7 percent of the vote if the country were as tolerant as its most tolerant area.

    John Sides rounds up more research on the subject.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/

  19. rikyrah says:

    Leaving Iraq
    by BooMan
    Fri Dec 2nd, 2011 at 11:22:53 AM EST

    The U.S. military handed over control of the Victory Base Complex to the Iraqi government today. That was the huge base near the Baghdad airport, containing numerous palaces (the Iraqis will now have to decide what to do with them). There are now no more than 500 U.S. soliders in the capital, and only 12,000 in the whole country. I don’t know how many mercenaries are there.
    We are on schedule to remove the remainder of our troops by New Year’s Eve.


    For weeks now, according to news reports, the main highway leading south to Kuwait has been clogged with American convoys, and the skies over Baghdad have echoed with the roar of aircraft flying troops home. This troop movement is part of an accelerated effort to meet the December 31 withdrawal deadline of all American forces from that ancient land between the Tigris and the Euphrates…
    …December 31, 2011, will represent for Americans the end of a harrowing eight and a half years of war…

    This has been done quietly, and largely without incident. Despite criticisms by hawks like John McCain, the administration has stuck to its promises to end the war in Iraq and to use as much care in leaving as we lacked in invading. There will be no Fall of Saigon moment. He will not be forced out with our tails between our legs. Nothing can absolve us of our national guilt for building a false casus belli for war, nor for outrages like Abu Ghraib. The war with Iraq is a national stain on our nation’s character. But the president did not cause that stain, and he’s done an excellent and largely unheralded job of righting the ship and steering us out of the conflict.

    While significant problems remain to be resolved regarding our military relationship with Iraq going forward, the fact that Iraq has remained largely out of the news is both a credit to the administration and a big reason why they aren’t getting more credit for their performance.

    This was the biggest promise Obama made to me, and he kept that promise. For that, I will be forever grateful.

    Next up, Afghanistan.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/12/2/112253/049

  20. rikyrah says:

    Mitt vs Newt: Has The GOP Already Lost?

    Charles Krauthammer has about as honest a column as can be expected from a Republican partisan at this point in time. It’s not pretty, even though the economic fundamentals should make this an election tilted strongly toward the opposition. Money quote:


    Two ideologically problematic finalists: One is a man of center-right temperament who has of late adopted a conservative agenda. The other is a man more conservative by nature but possessed of an unbounded need for grand display that has already led him to unconservative places even he is at a loss to explain, and that as president would leave him in constant search of the out-of-box experience — the confoundedly brilliant Nixon-to-China flipperoo regarding his fancy of the day, be it health care, taxes, energy, foreign policy, whatever.

    Scott Johnson vents:


    Just when the logic of a Romney candidacy was about to impress itself on me, Romney consented to an interview with Bret Baier on Fox News this week. Like Nixon in 1968, Romney has chosen to avoid these kinds of appearances. I think you can see why in this interview. It is an unimpressive performance. Baier conducts himself in a perfectly professional manner. When challenged with predictable questions by Baier, Romney is by turns discombobulated and even petulant (great line: “We’re going to have to be better informed about my views on issues”) before he recovers his footing toward the end of the interview.

    The interview was not a disaster in any objective sense. It was not Palin-Couric. Romney knows his shit. But what came through in the interview, as it pulled apart Romney’s chameleon-like record, was that this really is a man without a core. As I have said before, he makes plastic look real. He looks and sounds like some actor who can play the part of president in a Hollywood thriller, but isn’t a major role. While Reagan inhabited the role of president, Romney just isn’t a good enough actor. You watch that interview and think: how can I trust anything this gelled-hair, crinkly-eyed hologram says?

    This is not really ideological. It’s personal. And that matters in a presidential candidate. Romney looks so studiedly presidential he’s coming out the other side as un-presidential. And on the personal front, Gingrich is even worse. How could such a man unite the country in a major economic or national security crisis? Would you want him or no-drama-Obama in that moment?

    I have to say at this point, I’m beginning to wonder if the GOP hasn’t already thrown this election. That isn’t to say it cannot be won; of course it can (and might even by a hefty margin if we enter another downward spiral). But if Obama is re-elected, and the sequestration defense cuts are enforced and the Bush tax cuts expire, and the ACA becomes irreversible … how will the GOP’s strategy over the last three years look like in retrospect?

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/mitt-vs-newt-has-the-gop-already-lost.html

  21. rikyrah says:

    Obama Draws Ire of Billionaire Leon Cooperman (Not Satire)
    By Steve Weinstein

    enlarge
    Leon Cooperman, CEO, Omega Advisors, Inc.

    Hedge fund heavyweight Leon Cooperman was all over the business news today with his “scathing” open letter to President Obama. In this ridiculous piece of myopic pedantry, Cooperman eviscerates the president, blaming him and him alone for the divisiveness and incivility that he believes is destroying capitalism and the precious America that enabled his own ascent to billionaire-dom.

    Surprisingly, Cooperman makes no mention of the GOP. He makes no mention of his fellow New York “billionaire” Donald Trump essentially calling the president an illegal alien who has orchestrated the greatest con in history. He makes no mention of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proud declaration that his top priority is to defeat President Obama. He makes no mention of the GOP’s unprecedented use of the filibuster to stymie all progress. No mention of House Speaker John Boehner holding the credit rating of the USA hostage and then thumbing his nose at a big fiscal deal during the debt ceiling disaster.

    Cooperman instead insists that it is the president and the president’s “minions” who are entirely responsible for the rancor and demagoguery plaguing our political system and crippling the magical “wheels of commerce and
    progress.” Then he regurgitates the GOP’s beloved phrase “class warfare.” He suggests that it is the wealthy like him who can help the downtrodden and they therefore should not be targeted or nitpicked in any way. He demands that the president become “a transcendent leader” and eschew any sort of “guerrilla campaign” that he learned as a “community organizer in Chicago.” (He did not, however, call the president a Mau Mau. It must be the holiday season.)

    Interviewed on CNBC as the financial world’s sage of the day, Cooperman seemed particularly offended by the president’s assault on the aircraft industry–I suppose he means the president’s rather amusing disdain for the private jet tax loophole–which, Cooperman speciously argued, is an assault on union workers. He then went on to endorse for president fellow Wall Streeter and legendary best buddy of union workers, Mitt Romney.

    Even more hilariously, Cooperman told CNBC that he had joked on a conference call with his investors that perhaps he should run for president himself. He assured the TV anchor that it was just a joke. But he then laid out his 9-point platform for his mythical presidential run. (At least it wasn’t a 999-point platform). This economic checklist included–to his credit–an end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, free college education for all returning soldiers, a large WPA-styled infrastructure jobs initiative, a 10 percent tax surcharge on all incomes over $500,000 and a 5% VAT tax on everyone. Cooperman also threw in a few squishy-GOP faves like expanded domestic energy production and raising the social security retirement age to 70.

    But look at that list: Cooperman is for a new G.I. Bill, hugely higher taxes on the rich and a massive government stimulus infrastructure build. And he is voting GOP. Good luck with that.

    Instead of tearing President Obama a new one, it actually sounds like Cooperman should be billionaire muscling the GOP Congress to pass the president’s American Jobs Act.

    Reading between the lines, it seems mostly that Cooperman’s wittle feelings are hurt. How dare anyone–anyone from the Occupy Wall Street protesters to President Obama–ever say a bad thing about billionaires, hardworking billionaires who only want to help the poor by creating jobs for them and “fill[ing] store shelves at Christmas.” A private jet tax loophole is a small price to pay for that kind of humanitarian instinct, isn’t it?

    http://crooksandliars.com/steve-weinstein/douche-year-leon-cooperman

  22. rikyrah says:

    Report: Rep. Jackson offered deal for Senate seat

    Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., D-Ill., either knew of efforts or directed someone to raise campaign money for then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich in return for Jackson’s appointment to the U.S. Senate, an investigative report released today alleges.

    Investigators said they also learned Jackson used his congressional offices to mount a “public campaign” for the Senate, a possible violation of federal law and House rules that bar the use of official resources for political activities.

    With the release of that report, the House ethics committee said today it will continue its review into Jackson, a nine-term lawmaker once considered a natural fit for the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he won the presidency.

    Jackson, the son of the prominent civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, has said he has done nothing wrong and will be vindicated. In a Nov. 15 letter to the committee, his lawyers said Jackson “did not direct or know of any offer” to provide campaign money to Blagojevich.

    Jackson did make a “public effort to gain the appointment on the merits,” his lawyers wrote, because Jackson had a “frosty relationship” with Blagojevich and needed to apply public pressure in his effort to secure the appointment.

    Jackson, 46, was not appointed to the seat.

    Blagojevich is scheduled to be sentenced next week on multiple corruption convictions related to his efforts to sell or trade the Senate post.

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/onpolitics/post/2011/12/jesse-jackson-jr-rod-blagojevich-ethics-committee-/1

  23. Ametia says:

    Here you go Gloria Cain, let Hermie have it!

  24. Ametia says:

    Jonathan Capehart: If There’s A Pot Of Hot Grits On The Stove When Herman Cain Goes Home, He Better Run.

    Video

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/jonathan-capehart-if-theres-a-pot-of-hot-grits-on-the-stove-when-herman-cain-goes-home-he-better-run/

  25. rikyrah says:

    Newt’s Appeal
    A reader writes:

    I spent Thanksgiving with my family of formerly-sensible moderates and conservatives. Every one of them has morphed into a Gingrich fan. As much as the commentariat likes to talk about electability, the just-regular-folks I spent the holidays with talked only about how Newt would “hammer” the President during debates. “Can you imagine,” my sister said, her eyes as lit-up as a child’s on Christmas morning. “When Obama starts that smartest-guy-in-the-room shit, Newt’ll shut him up.” No one talked about policy or even politics. This is a mob storming the Bastille, cheering the guillotine, and Gingrich is their most likely Robespierre.

    Is that feeling widespread enough to get a loon like Gingrich elected? I hope not, and don’t think so. But it’s enough to get him nominated, and anyone who doubts that needs to get out more. There’s a big slice of the electorate that has lost all perspective. The only thing they’re interested in is the visceral joy of watching someone destroy and humiliate “that damned Obama.” They’re convinced that Gingrich is just the guy to administer the rough justice they crave, and whether he’s electable or would even be good for the country simply doesn’t enter into their thinking.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2011/12/newts-appeal.html

    • rikyrah says:

      found this over at THE OBAMA DIARY in response to the Sullivan blurb:


      anotherslyfox
      December 2, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      I think this is bigger than any “Obama Derangement Syndrome” This is emphatic hatred of the 44th President. Not his policies, not his party affiliation, but him. The man. Everything that embodies him and that makes him, him. I sometimes think of that scene in Oliver Stone’s Nixon. Now, that movie may not be the most factual story about President Nixon, but I remember at the tail end of the movie where Nixon, played by Anthony Hopkins, walks to Kennedy’s White House Portrait, and says “Every time they look at you, they see who they want to be, when they look at me, they see what they are.”

      That is the enigma that plagues the Republicans. For years, they have touted themselves as intellectually, morally, physically and mentally superior to the Democrats. They have basked in it and glorified that in themselves. Their supporters think they are the same way. Then, there comes along this man, born of African and White blood, born the very year Kennedy was inaugurated. He grew up without a father, had a racial identity crisis which led to him hanging with the wrong crowd and experimented with illicit drugs and unlike Republicans who would hide that fact, admitted it and would openly without hesitation answer it when asked.He had a life that no other American child had. He went all over the world and learned the different cultures and customs.

      He didn’t even need to be elected to the U.S. Senate to know about foreign policy. He lived it. He then goes to two prestigious Universities, excelling in both. He marries a woman who is as strong and forthright as is he, probably more than him who he couldn’t live without. Has two lovely children who he cherishes and adores. Doesn’t need an entourage of adoring fanboys to make him feel important, but feels secure with friends he has known his whole life. He is secure in himself, he doesn’t need to put on a different aura or personality when in front of cameras. He is just him. He has that natural confidence, the confidence stems from him being content in his life and being grateful for all he has. He never wants more, but he always gets more. The Media knows that, the hard left and right which throws a barrage of insults and criticisms his way.

      They believe that he is too perfect. Look at that slight above, “”When Obama starts that smartest-guy-in-the-room shit….” they know that he is smarter than them and they hate it. He is morally superior than they are and they hate it. He has no psychological troubles and they hate it. He is physically superior than they are and they HATE IT!!!! We have lived through Bush and Abramoff, Clinton and Lewinsky, Bush and Thomas, Reagan and Iran Contra, Carter and the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Ford and his bumbling pitfalls, Nixon and his sneakiness, Johnson and Vietnam, Kennedy and the Bay of Pigs. I have yet to see something which would damage Barack Obama like that. They are trying it with Solyndra, but it isn’t sticking. They really hate that, because not only do they want to see a scandal for political reasons obviously, but somehow if they can’t be better than him, they at least want to be the same as him.

      They want him to be as dirty, as horrendously nasty as they are. They want him to insult, belittle and be crass towards them. The fact that he is a true statesman blunts the plan of pulling him down to their level. They can’t do that now, which is why they are deluding themselves thinking that Newt Gingrich could best him. They have fallen for their own bullshit with the ” conservative intellectual with ideas.” Its gonna be a tums and ginger ale night for them when they figure out how wrong they are.

      http://theobamadiary.com/2011/12/02/rise-and-shine-34/#comment-183036

  26. rikyrah says:

    December 02, 2011 10:20 AM

    Gingrich’s disdain for poor children, their families
    By Steve Benen

    A couple of weeks ago, Newt Gingrich described existing child-labor laws as “truly stupid.” As the disgraced former House Speaker sees it, children who go to school but don’t take on part-time jobs get “entrapped” by poverty. The disgraced former House Speaker would prefer that school districts fire “unionized janitors,” and instead pay kids to maintain their own schools.

    In Gingrich’s model, children would start earning outside income as early as age 9. He wasn’t kidding.

    Yesterday in Iowa, the Republican presidential hopeful was asked if he could elaborate on this point. Unfortunately, he did, arguing, “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits for working and have nobody around them who works. So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday.”

    Gingrich added that poor children are probably criminals. “They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash’… unless it’s illegal,” he said.

    Over at the Monthly’s Ten Miles Square blog, Rick Ungar said the far-right Republican went “way over the line,” and I couldn’t agree more.

    Could it possibly be that the self-professed, master of the big idea managed to miss the fact that there are more than 10 million low-income (earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level) working families in this country — representing 45 million Americans, 22 million of which are children?

    These are the very people who live in the poor neighborhoods that Gingrich is talking about -the communities where Newt seems to believe that people don’t understand working for a dollar unless it involves doing something illegal.

    I’ve been closely following politics for much of my life — and, in my case, that’s a pretty long time — and I am comfortable in saying that Newt’s speech may well be the most offensive political speech I have ever heard spoken by an American politician.

    Ungar added that Gingrich’s comments are the kind of “utterings one might expect from an imbecile who grew up in a community so shielded from the poor that such a person simply could not know any better.”

    Exactly. Gingrich’s assumptions are the kind one might expect from someone who not only has a personal disgust for low-income families, but also has never met or talked to low-income families. He’s popping off on a subject he doesn’t understand, about communities he’s never seen, all in the hopes of justifying his contempt for child-labor laws that have been a standard part of American life for generations.

    Gingrich’s perspective is as wrong as it is morally repugnant.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/gingrichs_disdain_for_poor_chi033851.php

  27. rikyrah says:

    FOUND THIS OVER AT THE OBAMA DIARY:

    LOL
    December 2, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Awww wittle willard haz no fwiends

    :From firstread.msnbc.msn.com

    Most of the 12 Republican primary voters who gathered here to participate in a focus group that NBC/WSJ pollster Peter Hart (D) conducted for the Annenberg Public Policy Center believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. They’re not hopeful about the future. And they don’t like President Obama’s leadership. But they didn’t exactly love the GOP candidates. That was especially true of Mitt Romney. When asked who Romney would be if he were a member of their family, they answered, “black sheep,” “fun neighbor,” “cousin,” “second cousin,” “dad that was never home.”

    By comparison, the responses for Newt Gingrich were “grandfather,” “father,” “my favorite uncle,” and “uncle who keeps bringing home different wives.” When asked who they would like to serve as their character witness if they were in trouble, just one Republican mentioned Romney. And when Hart pressed them to further talk about Romney if he becomes president, one person described him as a “placeholder.” Another called him a “safe bet

    http://theobamadiary.com/2011/12/02/rise-and-shine-34/#comment-182742

  28. The Raw Story:

    Gingrich: Children of poor families are lazy, should be put to work.

    http://tiny.cc/ajemx

  29. OH Gov Kasich Is ‘Very Pleased’ That The Auto Rescue He Originally Opposed Saved The Auto Industry

    http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2011/12/01/379627/kasich-auto-rescue-pleased/#.Ttjcu0mPxqI.twitter

  30. ThinkProgress:

    FACT: Obama’s job-crushing economic policies have created 1.67 million private sector jobs in 2011

  31. Newt Gingrich’s disgusting remarks about ‘really poor children’

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/post/newt-gingrichs-disgusting-remarks-about-really-poor-children/2011/03/04/gIQASoLpHO_blog.html

    Newt Gingrich, the know-it-all former Speaker of the House who now rides atop the polls for the Republican nomination for president, has been shooting his mouth off lately. He called himself a celebrity who makes $60,000 a speech. Another favorite is, “I helped Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp develop supply side economics. I helped lead the effort to defeat communism in the Congress.” I didn’t realize communism in Congress was an issue, but I digress.

    Then, a tweet from Charles Blow of the New York Times piqued my interest.

    RT @foxnewspolitics Gingrich: Poor kids don’t know work unless it’s crime: politics.blogs.foxnews.com/2011/12/01/new… < Oh HELL no! What?! Somebody get

    Surely, the Fox News report was referring to something from Gingrich’s end-welfare past. Would that were so.

    GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich defended his stance against certain child labor laws during a campaign stop in Iowa Thursday, saying that children born into poverty aren’t accustomed to working unless it involves crime.

    “Really poor children, in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works so they have no habit of showing up on Monday,” Gingrich claimed.
    “They have no habit of staying all day, they have no habit of I do this and you give me cash unless it is illegal,” he added.

    • Newt Gingrich is a grifting lowlife sob. The nerve of this mofo! His own corruption got himself kicked out of congress. I hope Emmanuel Cleaver takes it to the DOJ on what millionaires Newt knows that are receiving food stamps.

      Emannuel Cleaver Suggests Gingrich Should Get Charges Filed Against Top Hedge Fund Managers/

      JavaScript required to play mediaite-1.

  32. rikyrah says:

    The Grover must be appeased…
    by Dennis G.

    Congress must act this month to extend unemployment benefits and the extend/expand the Social Security Tax Cut. A failure to do so will increase taxes for every working American and cut life sustaining support for the unemployed. To pay for this, Democrats have suggested that the Nation’s 300,000 millionaires have a very slight increase in taxes. This is quite fair and most people in the Nation support the plan.

    But it angers The Grover and he must be appeased.

    On Thursday, the vengeful demigod of the modern Republican Party met with his fearful worshipers in Congress to tell them what was and what was not acceptable.

    Turns out that The Grover does not view increasing taxes on EVERY working American as an increase in taxes. In fact, the GOP demigod has declared that letting a temporary tax cut expire is not a tax increase—if it is a tax cut that only impacts workers:


    But Norquist differed. “For the president to run around and say not continuing a temporary tax cut is an increase is inaccurate,” he said in an interview after the closed-door meeting with the lawmakers.

    Norquist said neither himself nor his group, Americans for Tax Reform, necessarily opposes extending the payroll tax cut—although he suggests any scenario that includes “another one-year extension of the tax holiday in return for a permanent tax increase on something else” would be a “mistake.”

    The Grover has spoken. A tax increase on millions of Americans is not actually a tax increase because the Social Security Tax Holiday is temporary and will expire without Congressional action to extend it. But, The Grover does not apply the same logic to every temporary tax cut with an expiration date

    As a demigod who makes the rule, The Grover can also break them. In a complete flip-flop, The Grover has also ruled that letting the temporary Bush Tax cuts for the top 1% expire in January 2013 would be increasing taxes. Strange are the ways of The Grover and one should never expect consistency from a conservative grifter demigod.

    On Thursday, he gave his minions marching orders. An extension of the Tax Holiday and unemployment benefits would be OK as long as they are not paid for by asking that any millionaire might be forced to cut back on their caviar allowance by even the smallest tax on their earnings above $1,000,000.

    Sacrifice is needed, but it must come from the poor and the middle-class.

    Congressional Republicans have come up with a plan for a ritual sacrifice of workers that is crafted to appease The Grover. Instead of asking any of the Nation’s 300,000 millionaire to pay their share, they will ask all Federal Employees to pay for the extension of the tax holiday and unemployment benefit through payroll freezes and the elimination of 200,000 workers from the work force.

    Jobs will be destroyed, more people will suffer and gap between the 99% and the 1% will get wider, but sacrificing workers is how Modern Conservatives engage in the ritual blood sacrifice that The Grover demands. And The Grover—above all other oaths and all other Gods—must be appeased or you will face his terrible vengeance. No wonder John the Orange One is always crying…

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/12/02/the-grover-must-be-appeased/

  33. rikyrah says:

    I’ve Got Hoes in Different Area Codes
    by John Cole

    So apparently Herman Cain has been helping out his lady friend without his wife’s knowledge:


    Herman Cain said Thursday that he repeatedly gave money without his wife’s knowledge to Ginger White, the Atlanta woman who alleged carrying on an affair with Cain for 13 years.

    He’s just helpful that way.

    BTW- the reason the GOP base will look the other way when a bunch of women come forward accusing Cain of harassment is because he didn’t admit it. He could just call them lying sluts, and since the GOP position is that all women can’t be trusted, especially when they team up with the media and Gloria Allred, that worked. But as soon as he admitted to an affair, the “all bitches be hoes” defense went out the window.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2011/12/02/ive-got-hoes-in-different-area-codes/

  34. rikyrah says:

    December 02, 2011 8:00 AM

    GOP blocks payroll tax break plans
    By Steve Benen

    The Senate held two votes on extending a payroll tax cut for more than 160 million Americans, most of whom are middle class. As expected, Republicans killed them both. What was unexpected, though, was the vote totals on the proposals.

    First up was the Democratic plan, which would have kept the payroll break in place for another year, and pay for it with a slight surtax on millionaires and billionaires. A 51-member Senate majority supported the bill, but that was far short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a GOP filibuster.

    It’s worth noting that one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins (R) of Maine, broke ranks and supported the Dems’ proposal. Since the economic push began in earnest in early September, Collins is the first Republican senator to vote for any Democratic jobs proposal. It didn’t affect the outcome, but given the current climate, this is what constitutes progress in 2011.

    Of course, the fact that nearly every Republican senator would rather raise taxes on 160 million people, than ask millionaires and billionaires to pay a little more isn’t progress at all.

    What was just as interesting was the next vote, when the Senate considered the GOP alternative, which would also keep the payroll break in place, but pay for it largely through a pay freeze on federal workers.

    A Republican alternative, which would have extended the current more modest tax cut and slashed the federal payroll to pay for it, was rejected 78 to 20, with more than half of Republicans opposed.

    Yep, most Republican senators opposed their own party’s legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters the other day there is now “a majority sentiment” within his caucus for continuing the payroll break, but that claim is now very much in doubt.

    John Aravosis summarized the problem.

    So a majority of Republicans voted against the Democratic plan to extend the payroll tax cut, and a majority of Republicans voted against even the Republican plan to extend the payroll tax cut.

    In other words, the Republicans don’t want to extend the payroll tax cut at all. They want to raise taxes on every single working American. Not just the middle class — if you have a job, the GOP just voted to raise your taxes for Christmas.

    This is not to say that the payroll tax cut is dead. On the contrary, both of last night’s Senate measures were largely test votes, intended to show where the parties stood in advance of the next round of negotiations.

    But the result of this test is pretty clear: most GOP senators would prefer to see the payroll tax break disappear at the end of the month, regardless of warnings about its detrimental effect on the economy, and regardless of the position of their own party’s leadership. It’s going to make the coming search for a bipartisan solution that much more difficult.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/gop_blocks_payroll_tax_break_p033845.php

  35. rikyrah says:

    Mic Check the Bully Pulpit
    by BooMan
    Thu Dec 1st, 2011 at 09:22:11 PM EST

    The Senate held a vote tonight. The Republicans acted like assholes again. The Senate clerk will post[ed] the roll call here sometime soon. The president issued a statement in reaction.


    Statement by the President
    Tonight, Senate Republicans chose to raise taxes on nearly 160 million hardworking Americans because they refused to ask a few hundred thousand millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. They voted against a bill that would have not only extended the $1,000 tax cut for a typical family, but expanded that tax cut to put an extra $1,500 in their pockets next year, and given nearly six million small business owners new incentives to expand and hire. That is unacceptable. It makes absolutely no sense to raise taxes on the middle class at a time when so many are still trying to get back on their feet.

    Now is not the time to put the economy and the security of the middle class at risk. Now is the time to rebuild an economy where hard work and responsibility pay off, and everybody has a chance to succeed. Now is the time to put country before party and work together on behalf of the American people. And I will continue to urge Congress to stop playing politics with the security of millions of American families and small business owners and get this done.

    Some people have been debating the worth and efficacy of the bully pulpit. I just mic checked the bully pulpit. Maybe you can mic check this to your social networks. Let people know that the Republicans are still looking out for the top one percent while everyone else gets to pay higher taxes.

    And notice that the president adopted the Republicans’ deceptive practice of calling the expiration of a tax cut a “tax raise.” So, there’s some Luntz for you.

    http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2011/12/1/212211/866

  36. rikyrah says:

    December 02, 2011
    Any ad which quotes what Gingrich wrote on Thursday is a falsehood

    The Times’ Jeff Zeleny has a good overview of the GOP’s now two-man contest of the lesser abomination. Both utterly unfit wannabes are bobbing and dancing delicately around one another to demonstrate their strong, silent variety of ultraconservative manliness, even though the Republican base most admires a frothing madness in its presidential candidates.

    Writes Zeleny of Romney:


    His campaign is waiting for other candidates to engage Mr. Gingrich, but if voters have not turned from Mr. Gingrich in the next two weeks, Mr. Romney is prepared to pounce.

    Yes, this is one clever Yankee. For the moment, as he bleeds support, he’s engaging in a kind of strategic suicide, something too diabolically ingenious for us mere mortals to comprehend. Romney is permitting his thousand-cuts death another couple of weeks, during which, one presumes, he’ll refuse all perusals of any calendar, or map.

    That other guy, meanwhile,


    seemed to take a new tone on Thursday and advised his staff not to instigate or respond to any attacks…. In an appeal for donations, he said he would not use any “attack ads against my friends who are also seeking the Republican nomination.”

    But not to worry. The Gingrich has a magic wand. When he does finally launch into vicious assaults on Romney, as everyone reasonably anticipates, all he need say in his defense is that “Any ad which quotes what I [wrote on Thursday] is a falsehood.” Presto, contradiction resolved.

    What’s most amusing about all this is that Gingrich, just days ago, was perfectly content selling books and videos. He never had any intention of actually running for the presidency, or, for sure, ever leading the pack. Such a contingency might interfere with his book-signing itinerary.

    All of which, oddly enough, has made him most dangerous to Romney. By caring less, Gingrich has gone farther than the other anti-Mitts; and once he goes far enough, he’ll resort, against Romney, to his usual, attack-dog malevolence.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2011/12/any-ad-which-quotes-what-gingrich-wrote-on-thursday-is-a-falsehood.html

  37. rikyrah says:

    December 01, 2011
    The paradox of progressive activism

    In the vital battleground of Pennsylvania, “Democrats enjoy a more than 1 million voter-registration edge,” relates Politico. Yet “Republicans [hold] the governor’s office, the Legislature and two-thirds of the state’s seats in Congress.”

    Hence the powerful significance of turnout, which in general operates inversely to political negativity. That is, voters — especially those of very little ideological commitment, a characteristic far more emblematic of contemporary Dems than Republicans — react to pounding cries of national doom and systemic corruption with not so much complacency as pointed disgust: It’s all rotten, they’re all rotten, elections portend no change, what’s the use of the franchise?

    A good deal of this attitude may also reflect the psychological comfort of remaining coyly disengaged while portraying oneself as philosophically engaged. The outcome, however, is the same: lower voter turnout from the center and center-left, which invariably benefits the more motivated (because of its ideological zeal) right.

    All of which, in time, effects the thunderous paradox of “progressive” activism as voter-suppression, of utopian means to a dystopic end, of a lefty lock on right-wing domination.

    The left’s wiser, more effective course of action is, you might say, rather Fabian: quiet mobilization, which includes enormous efforts on behalf of voter education and … GOTV.

    http://pmcarpenter.blogs.com/p_m_carpenters_commentary/2011/12/the-paradox-of-progressive-activism.html

  38. rikyrah says:

    December 01, 2011 4:40 PM

    Luntz’s Occupy advice
    By Steve Benen

    The Occupy protests seem to have captured the attention of one of the top Republican pollsters — and they’ve scared the hell out of him. Chris Moody has a terrific report on this today.

    The Republican Governors Association met this week in Florida to give GOP state executives a chance to rejuvenate, strategize and team-build. But during a plenary session on Wednesday, one question kept coming up: How can Republicans do a better job of talking about Occupy Wall Street?

    “I’m so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death,” said Frank Luntz, a Republican strategist and one of the nation’s foremost experts on crafting the perfect political message. “They’re having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.”

    As is his wont, Luntz provided Republicans with a series of carefully-crafted rhetorical suggestions in order to help manipulate audiences. For example, “waste” and “government spending” are apparently supposed to be interchangeable. Calls for “sacrifice” and “compromise” are easily misunderstood. Voters don’t believe Republicans are defending the middle class, so GOP officials should instead talk about “hardworking taxpayers.” And Americans are supposed to be told that government “takes from the rich,” not “taxes the rich,” because taxing the rich is popular.

    That last point was of particular interest, because Republicans, polls to the contrary notwithstanding, like to pretend that asking more from the very wealthy isn’t popular at all.

    And as Greg Sargent noted, that suggests Luntz’s research includes “a pretty striking concession.”


    This longtime GOP pollster, adviser, and messaging expert is admitting that the Dem push for tax hikes on the rich has Republicans on the defensive, and that Republicans need to come up with a better way of obscuring what Dems are trying to achieve on the issue. He’s also admitting that the public isn’t inclined to believe Republicans represent the interests of the middle class.

    No wonder Republicans are so worried they’re losing the message war over jobs and the economy — they are losing.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal/2011_12/luntzs_occupy_advice033837.php

  39. rikyrah says:

    Elizabeth Warren Surges Ahead of Scott Brown In New Poll

    A new UMass Amherst Poll released today found that Elizabeth Warren has opened up a four point lead on Scott Brown, 43%-39%.

    Warren’s lead in the poll was within the margin of error, but the Democratic challenger leads Sen. Brown in several key areas. Warren leads Brown 38%-32% on the question of which candidate would do a better job handling the economy. She also leads the Republican incumbent, 40%-29% on healthcare, and 37%-30% on taxes. Brown leads Warren 33%-25% on the handling of terrorism.

    Brown leads with men, 46%-40%, but Warren enjoys a much larger lead with women, 46%-31%. Warren leads with both those making less than $40K (42%-27%), and those making more than $40K (48%-37%). Brown leads with those who earn over $100,000 a year, 48%-42%. Warren has a big lead with younger voters (18-29), 52%-21% and those over 55 (44%-41%), but Brown leads with voters age 30-54 (44%-38%). Brown leads with Republicans (93%-0%) and Independents (49%-31%), but Warren has a big lead with Democrats (78%-6%).

    The most troubling head to head statistic for Brown is that he is only retaining 81% of those who voted for him in the 2010 special election. Seven percent of his support has already shifted to Elizabeth Warren, and she has kept 89% of those who voted for Coakley. Only 3% of those who supported Martha Coakley in 2010 are supporting Scott Brown in 2012. Elizabeth Warren has a big lead with liberals (77%-5%) and moderates (49%-31%). As expected, Brown dominates with conservatives (87%-4%).

    The one thing that jumps out about these numbers is that Warren’s leads are bigger than Brown’s leads outside of his advantages with Republicans and conservatives. This is why beyond the horse race head to head numbers; it is fitting to describe Warren as surging.

    For Brown to have any chance of victory at all he has to dominate with Independents and his current advantage isn’t big enough. Scott Brown’s biggest issue is his upside down approval rating. Only 37% of the state’s voters gave Scott Brown a favorable job approval rating. In contrast, President Obama has a 49% job approval rating in Massachusetts.

    In fact, it is the Obama constituency that is powering a great deal of the support for Elizabeth Warren. Like Obama, Warren has a big lead with younger and female voters. The worst news of all for Brown is that Obama has a big 15 point lead over Mitt Romney in the state. If the Obama voters come out to the polls next November, they will be supporting Elizabeth Warren.

    http://www.politicususa.com/en/elizabeth-warren-leads-brown

  40. rikyrah says:

    Back to the Murdoch Primary, Pt.2
    Often in politics, in life, a new configuration of facts calls out for a new meme, a new storyline to make sense of that new data. Now Mitt Romney seems to have provided just that for the raft of new polling data showing that New Gingrich of all people is now seriously competing with him for the Republican nomination.

    As you’ll remember, last night Romney sat down for an unexpectedly combative interview with Fox’s Bret Baier. Baier pressed Romney considerably more than Romney seems to have expected on the ‘flip-flop’ issue — certainly more than Fox usually does with a generic or anointed Republican, and Romney clearly didn’t like it.

    Over the course of Wednesday, national Dems had been taunting Romney’s campaign about the interview. And this evening, Baier went on Fox’s O’Reilly show and described Romney complaining to him about the interview after the show. Here’s a quick clip of the exchange, courtesy of Think Progress …

    There are a couple things to note here.

    Assume for the moment that Baier’s characterization of events is entirely accurate — something that is not terribly difficult to believe given Mitt’s behavior and affect during the interview. This is way beyond the call of duty for Baier to be ratting Mitt out like this. It’s one thing to go after someone with hard questions in an interview, quite another to trash the guy with what were off camera comments after the interview. Especially stuff like this that — let’s be honest — makes Mitt sound like a wuss.

    Maybe that’s just Baier. But Fox News is a really top down operation. And it plays favorites, just as much within GOP politics as between the two parties themselves. As I’ve mentioned before, one of the biggest undiscussed parts of the GOP primary process is the Murdoch primary. This is part of that.

    And what does it say about Romney? It goes to a possibly pretty nasty line of attack against a newly vulnerable ‘frontrunner’ — basically that he can’t handle a fight or can’t take the heat. But in the always borderline-feral, gendered nature of campaign politics, even a bit more than that — that maybe Mitt’s not quite a man.

    Nor is this out of character for Mitt. The guy doesn’t like getting questioned too hard or pressed too closely. That’s not altogether surprising given the life Mitt’s led. But he shows it. Remember the debate six weeks ago when Rick Perry finally took his geritol and managed to seriously get under Mitt’s skin on the illegal immigration issue? There’s a difficult to describe mix of surprise, put-off-edness and testiness that he exhibits in these cases.

    Mitt’s role right now as the polished but unloved ex-Wall Streeter running as a less-than-credible conservative in an era of crisis unemployment makes this touchiness something critics can readily grab on to.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2011/11/back_to_the_murdoch_primary_pt2.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Talking-Points-Memo+%28Talking+Points+Memo%3A+by+Joshua+Micah+Marshall%29

  41. rikyrah says:

    Romney: Wrong on Israel

    When he’s having a tough time–as he is this week–Mitt Romney’s first instinct is to attack President Obama. This is not a bad political instinct, if deftly done. But Romney’s execution is usually clunky. Last week, we had the Romney ad that pretended Barack Obama was saying something that John McCain had actually said–McCain wanted to avoid talking about the economy in 2008, a brilliant strategy. That was skeevy in the extreme, especially after it became clear that the Romney staff thought the controversy over their unscrupulousness would work in their favor (tone deaf politicians always assume the public is stupid enough to buy such stuff).
    This week we have another example. Romney’s press office has just put out this statement about the President and Israel:

    “President Obama, in New York to raise campaign cash, told a group of prospective donors that ‘We don’t compromise when it comes to Israel’s security.’ That would be great news, if it were true. Unfortunately, under the Obama Administration, U.S.-Israeli relations have hit a low not seen since the Jimmy Carter years. It is not merely the way that President Obama has disparaged Israel’s prime minister in public and private. U.S. policy itself is at issue. Whether the question is peace talks with the Palestinians, or defining Israel’s borders, or keeping Iran from getting nuclear weapons, the administration has repeatedly scanted Israel’s interests. Words uttered behind closed doors in a campaign fundraiser in New York are one thing. Actions that have repeatedly thrown Israel under the bus are another.”


    ………………………………………

    The real difference now is that Binyamin Netanyahu is Israel’s prime minister and, as such, he’s done something none of his predecessors has ever done–he has injected himself into an American presidential campaign in partisan fashion, against an incumbent President of the United States. The only recent precedent for such nonsense I can recall is Osama Bin Laden’s last minute attempt to influence the 2004 presidential campaign against (or maybe for) George W. Bush.

    It is very much unprecedented for a candidate for President to side with a foreign leader against the American President. But given their warped disrespect for this particular President, it has become disgracefully common among Republicans this year. One would hope that Romney, as one of the few plausible Republican candidates, would eschew such cheesy behavior…would not misrepresent Obama’s positions on foreign policy so gleefully. But, if this race continues to slip away from him, I suspect that’s exactly what we’ll continue to see.

    Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2011/12/01/romney-wrong-on-israel/#ixzz1fNwIa4f0

  42. rikyrah says:

    The White House Blog
    Senate Vote Against the Payroll Tax Cut: “Unacceptable”
    Posted by Matt Compton on December 01, 2011 at 09:55 PM EST

    Just now, Republicans in the Senate rejected an extension of the payroll tax cut that is set to expire at the end of the month. In a statement, President Obama called that vote “unacceptable” — and urged Congress to stop playing politics:

    Tonight, Senate Republicans chose to raise taxes on nearly 160 million hardworking Americans because they refused to ask a few hundred thousand millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. They voted against a bill that would have not only extended the $1,000 tax cut for a typical family, but expanded that tax cut to put an extra $1,500 in their pockets next year, and given nearly six million small business owners new incentives to expand and hire. That is unacceptable. It makes absolutely no sense to raise taxes on the middle class at a time when so many are still trying to get back on their feet.

    Now is not the time to put the economy and the security of the middle class at risk. Now is the time to rebuild an economy where hard work and responsibility pay off, and everybody has a chance to succeed. Now is the time to put country before party and work together on behalf of the American people. And I will continue to urge Congress to stop playing politics with the security of millions of American families and small business owners and get this done.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/12/01/senate-vote-against-payroll-tax-cut-unacceptable

  43. rikyrah says:

    U.S. Added 102K Jobs In November; Unemployment Falls To 8.6 Percent

    The U.S. economy added 102,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate has fallen to 8.6 percent, according to the latest jobs figures from the Labor Department. The current unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since March 2009.

    http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/updates/2338

  44. rikyrah says:

    Ralph Nader Finds a Corporate Mogul to Love

    Ralph Nader just hates Democrats more than anything, including Republicans. It would be one thing if Nader was advancing some theory that running left-wing spoiler campaigns in the general election will hurt Democrats but push the Party to the left. That’s a terrible theory, but at least it’s a theory. But it’s pretty clear that Nader isn’t even advocating this kind of crazy long-term plan when you consider things like his advocacy of a Mike Bloomberg presidential campaign:

    “In area after area, you know, whether it’s consumer fairness, single payer health insurance, full medicare for all, for example, cracking down on corporate crime, a really new kind of tax system, the two parties are too hooked into the establishment, the corporate state that they can’t change. And so, if you ever put that agenda out in front of people it would be spectacular, especially if the candidate had enough money to reach those people. … Let’s say a Bloomberg runs, it would be a three way race in every sense of the term, because he could write a check for $500 million.”

    Bloomberg is not a left-winger who would force Democrats to the left. He’s an advocate of holding down taxes on the rich and an opponent of the Occupy Wall Street movement. If Bloomberg was the Democratic nominee, Nader would be assailing him as a corporate stooge.

    So why would he want to support a spoiler run for an even more moderate candidate than Obama? There is no coherent rationale here. He just has an insane belief that electing Republican presidents somehow leads to good things.

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/10/ralph_nader_finds_a_corporate.html

  45. rikyrah says:

    Iowa Poll: Herman Cain support in Iowa takes nose dive

    Herman Cain’s once-surging popularity in Iowa has plummeted in the wake of an allegation of a 13-year extramarital affair, leaving him at single-digit support with the Iowa caucuses just over a month away.

    Cain is now at 8 percent among likely Republican caucusgoers, The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll shows. That’s down from 23 percent in late October.

    The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO is to huddle with his family late today as he reassesses his bid for the White House.

    Although Cain has denied the affair, bad feelings about him doubled during the time the poll was in the field, from Sunday through Wednesday.

    On a question about the candidate most likely to have a scandal in the White House, Cain’s numbers rose from 25 percent at the start of polling, then to 36 percent, and to 47 percent at the end of polling.

    Asked which candidate caucusgoers most want to see in person, Cain was at 22 percent in a two-day rolling average of Sunday and Monday polling. That fell to 8 percent for the Tuesday-Wednesday results.

    http://caucuses.desmoinesregister.com/2011/12/02/iowa-poll-cain-support-in-iowa-takes-nose-dive/

  46. rikyrah says:

    Major Iowa County Chair: ‘Very Difficult’ For Mitt Romney To Win The State Now

    After months dancing around the question of whether to make an all-out play for Iowa, Mitt Romney is finally committing to winning the caucuses. But a top Republican official in the state’s largest county is skeptical he can make up for lost time.

    “It’ll be very difficult,” Polk County GOP chair Kevin McLaughlin told TPM. “He has for too long neglected the state, so if he comes back he looks desperate, like a bad boy trying to come back to make good.”

    However, he added that it wasn’t clear he has a choice but to step his game up given Newt Gingrich’s surge.

    “If he doesn’t come back, hes going to continue to erode, so it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” he said. “I’ve heard supporters say they couldn’t believe he wasn’t here more often, that he wouldn’t respond to requests for appearances, etc. But if he doesn’t show up going forward I think he continues to erode. I don’t know how you get yourself out of that box.”

    McLaughlin – who has not declared support for any particular candidate – says the race is still very much open as Herman Cain’s support opens up, while Ron Paul’s loyal following forms a strong ground game and Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum still work to rally social conservatives. As for Gingrich, he says while he offered up “scathing” reviews of Gingrich’s Iowa appearances in his county this summer, where he came across as “arrogant,” the candidate has improved since then and has voters abuzz over his debate appearances.

    “I think he’s been through a metamorphosis, he’s literally crashed and burned and raised himself from the ashes,” he said. “The simplest and best [explanation], is it’s no longer about him, it’s about us and about this country,” he said.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/top-iowa-county-chair-very-difficult-for-mitt-romney-to-win-now.php

  47. rikyrah says:

    Exclusive: Mitt Romney’s Son Talks Up Family’s ‘Small’ $12 Million Home
    Benjy Sarlin December 1, 2011, 2:08 PM

    There appears to be a very different definition of “small” in the Romney clan.

    In an appearance at a Mitt Romney campaign office in Iowa, one of the candidate’s sons, Josh Romney, recalled a cozy Thanksgiving with the family at his parents’ “two-bedroom house, pretty small.” Democratic trackers American Bridge provided TPM with video of the event:

    “They finally gave my dad a couple days off, so we were together with my dad,” he says in the clip. “We got to stay in the house because we were there first. I had a couple other brothers that were out there that had to stay at my brother’s house. But we got to stay at my parent’s place; they have a two-bedroom house, uh, pretty small.

    According to an interview with Mitt Romney and Hugh Hewitt, the family spent Thanksgiving in San Diego, where he owns a two-bedroom house that’s reportedly 3,000 square feet and valued at $12 million. The property made headlines earlier this year when news broke that Romney planned to tear it down and replace it with an even larger compound.

    The Romneys’ wealth has led to some awkward moments on the trail. Earlier this year, American Bridge captured video of Romney’s wife, Ann, telling a New Hampshire crowd about their “little place in Wolfeboro,” a reported 5,400 square foot, six bedroom mansion that also has a large boathouse and separate guest house.

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/12/exclusive-mitt-romneys-son-talks-up-familys-small-12-million-home.php?ref=fpa

  48. rikyrah says:

    Brenda Lee?

    Old School this morning :)

  49. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, EVERYONE AT 3CHICS!!!

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